Ms. Sharon Brown, Managing Director FirstCaribbean.

By: Tanya Smith-Cartwright

Nassau Bahamas –When FirstCaribbean International Bank reached the fifth anniversary of its establishment on October 14th, it marked the occasion by expressing its thanks to the many communities that are the bedrock of its business activities across its seventeen jurisdictions via US$300,000 of new community investments.

FirstCaribbean signaled its intention to become a vibrant community player when, during the first year of its founding, it committed one percent of its prior year post tax profits solely for community activities throughout its now seventeen-country network. In 2005, FirstCaribbean changed its policy, and now provides one percent of prior year pre-tax profits for community work. To ensure that these communities would directly benefit from its benevolence, the Bank established the FirstCaribbean International Comtrust Foundation. The Comtrust is currently chaired by Ms. Sharon Brown, Managing Director of the Bank’s operations in The Bahamas, who is among a nine-member Board of Trustees constituting representatives of the Bank’s Board of Directors and the Bank’s senior membership.

In observance of the Bank’s fifth anniversary, and in the wake of the passage of Hurricanes in Jamaica and Belize, the Bank, through the Comtrust, has set aside US$80,000 and US$50,000 respectively in hurricane relief to support rebuilding efforts in these two countries.

As a further demonstration of its commitment to giving back to the communities which have made it successful, the Comtrust has earmarked US$170,000 which will be evenly distributed across the bank’s network for special birthday gifts to the community for causes identified by the bank, as part of its wider programme of activities to mark the occasion.

Celebrating our Unsung Heroes

Perhaps the single most activity which has cemented itself as the Bank’s flagship community initiative, is its Unsung Heroes programme. Unsung Heroes honours those selfless persons in society who give of themselves for the good of others, working behind the scenes to uplift their communities. The fifth anniversary celebrations will coincide with the announcement of the winners of this programme. All countries have already submitted their nominees and a distinguished panel chaired by regional luminary, Sir Shridath Ramphal, will deliberate towards the end of October to name the person voted Regional Unsung Hero along with two runners-up.

Special Adopt-a-Cause Projects
The bank will also be working closely with its communities on a number of special projects during the month of October as part of its Adopt-a-Cause initiative.

This programme, designed to create an environment of volunteerism and teamwork among staff who spend their personal time to work with those persons, institutions and causes who request financial or other assistance, has also resonated well throughout the region. Over the years, schools, colleges and other institutions throughout the region have benefited from enhanced infrastructure through donations and help from staff at FirstCaribbean.

Chief Executive Officer, Charles Pink noted, “As we mark our fifth year, we extend sincere appreciation to our communities because our success is their success. We commit to continuing to work with them in the true spirit of partnership, providing them with the exceptional banking experience that they have come to expect of us and the care that goes with it, now and in the years ahead.”

About FirstCaribbean International Bank
FirstCaribbean is a major Caribbean bank offering a full range of market-leading financial services in Corporate Banking, Retail Banking, Wealth Management, Credit Cards, Treasury and Capital Markets. It is the largest, regionally-listed bank in the English-speaking Caribbean, with assets of over US$12 billion and market capitalization of US$2.8 billion. The Bank has over 3,500 staff; over 100 branches, banking centres, and offices in 17 regional markets, serving 800,000 active accounts.

FirstCaribbean has maintained an “A- Stable” rating by Standard & Poor’s from inception, the highest rating of any commercial bank in the Caribbean Community. It was formed in 2002 with the merger of CIBC West Indies Holdings and Barclays Bank PLC Caribbean operations. As at December 22nd 2006, CIBC became the majority shareholder in FirstCaribbean, now holding 91.490% of the shares of FirstCaribbean International Bank Limited

In 2004, 2005 and 2006, FirstCaribbean was named “Best Emerging Market Bank” by Global Finance magazine of New York. Also in 2006, Euromoney Magazine conferred its Best Bank Award of Excellence on the Pan-Caribbean bank, ranking FirstCaribbean among the most outstanding financial institutions in the Americas.

FirstCaribbean International Bank is committed to partnering with communities in the 17 territories in which it operates. Through the FirstCaribbean International Comtrust Foundation, FirstCaribbean International Bank dedicates 1% of its prior year profits (pre-tax) to Community Partnership causes each year.