Demerara Bank Ltd. to expand regionally with St. Lucia branch

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Demerara Bank Limited Head Office on Camp Street, Georgetown

Earlier this month, President Dr. Irfaan Ali revealed that a local bank was in the process of establishing a regional footprint. It turns out that the bank in question is Demerara Bank Limited.

According to the bank’s 2023 Annual Report, a subsidiary of the indigenous Guyanese bank will be established in St. Lucia. The report indicated that the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) has already approved the bank’s establishment on the island.

“The board of directors approved the establishment of a subsidiary in St. Lucia as part of the bank’s broader expansion plans. This coincides with the bank’s strategic plan which includes the expansion of our services and diversification of our business,” the report states.

During the second Local Content Summit 2024, President Ali spoke of the need for banks in Guyana to evolve their attitudes and way of thinking. It was at this point that he revealed the indigenous bank that was expanding its footprint.

“The bank has to see itself as a facilitating role in the development and expansion of the economy. And make investments to facilitate the deployment of capital to make use of these opportunities. And to do this, the bank must not only have a local look at things, but a regional look.”

“Now there’s one regional bank that became very successful in and also outside the region, operating in Guyana, by deploying a more reasonable approach. There’s one bank in Guyana now that’s in the process of establishing a regional footprint by going into a different country,” President Ali had said.

Further, the head of state had noted that many regional opportunities are waiting for not just local businesses, but banks, to tap into. He had stressed the importance of businesses positioning themselves.

“If we are building the capacity of companies here, what is the market we are targeting? Is it only building that capacity and scale and capability for the local market?” the President questioned.

“Or do we now look at this capacity and scale your building locally and find regional opportunities through which we can apply this capacity and expand the economic and financial opportunity for the local businesses? And that is where we have to position ourselves.”

Demerara Bank has received much recognition for its willingness to collaborate with the state to expand access to capital in targeted industries.

Back in 2022, Demerara Bank Limited collaborated with the Guyana Government to set up a $900 million revolving fund that was aimed at boosting the forestry sector to meet market demands by providing capital to those involved in the sector.

According to the details of the arrangement, some $300 million from the State’s coffers was to go towards this revolving fund. This sum was to be further supplemented by $600 million more provided by Demerara Bank Limited. It had been explained that this $900 million revolving fund would carry a low-interest rate of four per cent.

President Ali had also announced, through a partnership with the Guyana Forestry Commission under the Ministry of Natural Resources, that a committee would be established to ensure that persons are adhering to and abiding by what is expected of them, that is, the sector itself and its various associations.

Another Demerara Bank initiative was the Farmers Credit Line programme, which the bank also launched in 2022 to provide much-needed financing to farmers, mostly those along the coast.

The loan ranged from $1 million to $1.5 million with a low-interest rate and did not require any collateral from applicants.