Banker: Brighter days ahead
SENIOR BANKER IAN DE SOUZA is distancing himself from the prophets of economic gloom and doom.
Not only is the managing director and chief executive officer of Republic Bank (Barbados) Limited seeing good things in store for his institution as it starts its new financial year this month, but he is also feeling upbeat about the prospects for economic recovery.
In an interview with BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY one day before the September 30 end of Republic’s financial year, De Souza said: “From what I am seeing so far in the numbers, I think we are having quite a good year but I am only seeing some rough numbers. The bank has performed well.
“I think I am the luckiest CEO operating in the Caribbean today. I have a wonderful team of executives around me, being hardworking, very committed people. We make sure that the group of managers are always fully in tune with what is going on, they understand what the strategy of the organisation is, how we are implementing strategy. I am happy with what I see because the results are there.”
With Republic now controlling about 25 per cent of corporate business in Barbados and 27 per cent in retail banking, De Souza said the aim was to continuing growing this share in 2016.
“We are in the market building out the business on both the retail side of the bank and on the corporate side of the bank, looking for new relationships,” he said.
In terms of the wider picture of the economy, the seasoned banker said while he had no magic bullet or magic wand to offer, the historic pattern, where growth was in sync with growth in the major tourism source markets of the United Kingdom, United States and Canada, suggested that economic recovery would gather pace over the next three years.
“Once you have growth around you, you will benefit. When you hearing me talking about what we see in terms of the outlook for the economy, at the end of the day Barbados is heavily tied to the US and the UK markets and the Canadian market to some extent,” he said.
“If you look at it all the way through, the UK plunged into negative territory back in 1991 and the minute there was recovery [in the UK there was recovery in Barbados]. So Barbados moves in tandem with these markets, in sync. You had a period up to 2015 where the UK grew strongly, it dipped a little bit but is in a steady state right now.”
He added: “With the Conservatives coming in and having control, it means that business will be settled and the investment environment in the UK would be good so you find that you will continue to see economic growth and development.
“The Canadian economy did cool off a little bit but it is still doing well. The US, after a period of rapid growth has tapered off a bit but it is still growing, but at a slower rate. But the point about it is that the markets are in a good place so therefore it stands to reason that you are likely to see this kind of performance from Barbados going forward.”
De Souza if all of these factors were considered, and “barring any really strange variables hitting the world” then the information pointed to “economic growth in Barbados”.