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Turks And Caicos Celebrates Launch Of A 'Bank For The People'

by Leroy Baker,, New York

07 December 2005

The Turks and Caicos Islands last week celebrated the opening of the country's first local commercial bank, TCI Bank Limited, which has been launched to promote investment opportunities for the local populace and to strengthen the domestic economy.

Launched under the slogan of ‘Your Bank, Our Bank, The Nation’s Bank’ TCI Bank Limited has been hailed by some as a new era in the jurisdiction's banking system, and last Thursday’s opening ceremony was attended by several prominent local and foreign figures, notably the Chief Minister of Anguilla, Osborne Fleming and Sir Eustace Francis, Deputy Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda and Chairman, ABI Financial Group.

Chairman of TCI Bank, Mr. Charles Washington Misick noted in his remarks at the launch that: “The establishment of an indigenous bank here in the Turks and Caicos has been a dream of mine for many years.”

“I see the establishment of this bank as a means of empowering the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands and strengthening the domestic economy. It is an essential institution for the development of national pride and the building of confidence," Mr Misick added.

In his feature address, the Minister of Finance, Health and National Insurance, Floyd Hall noted that TCI will be able to offer banking facilities which are more suited to the needs to the local population, while also helping to break the duopoly of the two multinational institutions which currently dominate the country's banking system.

“Given the largely duopolistic nature of the banking sector, competition is limited”, stated the Minister.

Mr Hall went on to explain that about 50% of the senior management staff of the bank will be nationals while 70% of the shares in the bank are to be reserved for local institutions, companies and individual investors. He added that the bank will be free from government interference and will have its own independent board of directors.

In a congratulatory message to the Turks & Caicos, Anguillan leader Osbourne Fleming, remarked that: “It is too long the people of the TCI have been putting their money in institutions that make significant profits and take every cent out of the Turks and Caicos. It is time that the people of the Turks and Caicos can pass by on the road and point and say, I own piece of that!”

The bank officially opened its doors to the general public on Monday, December 5. A public offering of the bank's shares is scheduled to take place early next year.

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