Johnathan Johannes: “Our people can lead and can compete”

The Managing Director of 1st National Bank Mr. Johnathan Johannes says the recent acquisition of the assets of Royal Bank of Canada by a consortium of indigenous OECS banks demonstrated the power of dreaming big. 

Mr. Johannes explained that it would have been a disservice to the region to let another financial entity acquire RBC to “again reap the profits of our region and repatriate it to their countries”.

The 1st National Bank Managing Director acknowledged that “the region is overbanked” and that “there are too many banks in the OECS space”.

He said it is best for the region’s financial resources to remain in the hands of the people of the OECS and to be invested in the local economy, in large scale infrastructural projects, keeping profits at home.

Mr. Johannes said of 1st National and other OECS indigenous banks that “Our people can lead and our people can compete and we can put out products that rival those of our international competitors”.

He that for the past 80 years 1st National, founded by St. Lucians and run by St. Lucians, is a beacon of what ‘we as a people can achieve’. “It’s an institution that I think has at its roots St. Lucian ingenuity, St. Lucian industriousness, and we feel proud when our country does well and our country should feel proud when 1st National does well”.

He went on to add that “What we are today is because a group of Saint Lucians decided to pool their personal resources to create 1st National”.

1st National Bank had an extra-ordinary 2019 – winning the Business of the Year and Service Excellence Awards at the St. Lucia Business Awards, hosted by the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture.

1st National also went on to win global acclaim by winning the “Bracken Bank of the Year” for 2019 –an awards programmed established by the Financial Times of London to recognise global excellence in Banking. 

Mr. Johannes made the above comments in an interview with Calabash TV. 

The interview can be seen here.