Republic Bank could expand into Suriname
Surinamese Hakrinbank said to be in ‘strategic partnership talks’ with Trinidad-based Republic Bank.
PARAMARIBO, Suriname, Thursday, August 30, 2012 – Despite political opposition, the Suriname government appears to be readying to sell its 51 percent stake in Hakrinbank to Republic Bank out of Trinidad and Tobago.
However, the current economic situation has caused some to doubt the viability of the move.
Deputy Speaker of the House and a former member of the board of directors of Hakrinbank, Ruth Wijdenbosch has raised concerns over the government's plans to sell its shares in the bank. She warned that, taking into account the current situation in the international financial markets, it would not be wise to sell assets to a foreign bank.
"The legislative should have a say in this. These are assets of the Surinamese people," the opposition member of parliament reportedly told Caribbean News Now while calling on the government to inform parliament and the public regarding its policy to privatize Hakrinbank further.
The impending agreement was revealed in Hakrinbank’s bi-annual report where the bank linked the pursuit of a new majority owner to ongoing significant increases in its operational costs and investments expenditures, and growing competition on both the domestic and internaitonal financial sector fronts,
According to the report, "after consultations between our bank and the Surinamese government in its capacity as majority stakeholder", the board of directors started negotiations with Republic Bank. According to the bank, the talks "are progressing smoothly".
Hakrinbank also said that its policies are aiming at improving the quality of the bank's service and increasing efficiency and profitability of its operations.
Should Republic Bank acquire Hakrinbank, it would become the second Trinidadian bank to enter the Surinamese market after the former Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago took over the ABN-Amro Bank in Suriname in the late 1990s.