The Maduro and Curiel’s Bank (MCB) in Curaçao, the parent company of the Windward Islands Bank (WIB), has confirmed the intention to close WIB’s lone branch in Saba per the end of October this year, writes The Daily Herald.
“It is a business decision, based on the reality of our business in Saba,” MCB Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Lionel “Chicu” Capriles stated to the Curaçao newspaper Antilliaans Dagblad on Wednesday.
It appears, according to the newspaper, that the island is too small to run a commercial bank branch on a profitable basis. The market is not big enough to have two commercial banks operating on the island, since next to the WIB branch there is also a branch of the RBC Royal Bank in Saba.
“We have been in Saba since 2008. However, we simply didn’t get sufficient foothold on the local market and we got less support than we had expected,” stated Capriles, who added that in St. Eustatius, the WIB has more experience, also because we have been the sole commercial bank operating on that island for several years.
Capriles said that despite the decision to close the WIB branch in Saba per the end of October, he was content that at least the competitor, the RBC, would remain on the island with a branch and an ATM. “We feel very sorry that we have to leave Saba, but in our modest opinion it is too small to have more than one commercial bank.” WIB will remain in Statia.
Saba’s Island Council and Executive Council are very concerned about the announced closure of the WIB branch. The Island Government is lobbying to prevent the closure and will be sending a letter to Dutch State Secretary of Finance Eric Wiebes shortly.
The Island Government fears that the service provided by only one bank will be insufficient.
Three persons are working at the WIB branch in Saba, with Levinia Mitchel as the manager. It is not clear what will happen with the staff. WIB Saba operates under the WIB main office in St. Maarten. The MCB Group has 1,506 employees on all six Dutch Caribbean islands. The parent company MCB in Curaçao celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.