Sun | Sep 24, 2017

FirstCaribbean Jamaica returns to profitability

Published:Wednesday | January 27, 2016 | 1:00 AM
The headquarters of CIBC FirstCaribbean Jamaica at Knutsford Boulevard, New Kingston.

CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank Jamaica returned to profitability last year with a growth in its branch network and loan portfolio.

The bank, headed by managing director Nigel Holness, made $175.9 million net profit for year ending October 2015, reversing from a loss of $32.5 million recorded a year earlier.

Additionally, when gains on retirement benefit plans are added to the net profit, its total comprehensive income grew to $255.9 million, compared to comprehensive loss of $317.5 million a year earlier.

FirstCaribbean Jamaica opened a new branch at Fairview, Montego Bay, and piloted a mini-branch in Santa Cruz, St Elizabeth. The bank now operates 15 locations.

During the year, the bank, Jamaica's fourth largest of six, grew its loan portfolio to $38.6 billion, or 12.9 per cent higher, year on year. Its impaired loans grew slightly from $1.58 billion to $1.64 billion in October 2015.

The largest growth in loans came from electricity, gas and water category to $4.24 billion from $1.02 billion in 2014. Personal loans grew to $14.7 billion from $12.2 billion and tourism loans grew to $3.3 billion from $2.69 billion.

FirstCaribbean made $2.74 billion in net-interest income or slightly lower than the $2.8 billion earned a year earlier. However, it avoided another year of a loan-loss impairment.

The bank's cash holdings grew to $23.3 billion compared to $15.9 billion a year earlier. Its capital base made marginal gains to $14 billion from $13.8 billion a year earlier.

FirstCaribbean is a 99.7 per cent subsidiary of FirstCaribbean International Bank domiciled in Barbados. The ultimate parent is Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce of in Canada.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com