Consortium of regional banks to take over Stanford’s Bank of Antigua
By Oscar Ramjeet
Caribbean Net News Special Correspondent
ST JOHN’S, Antigua: In a dramatic move over the weekend, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) has exercised emergency powers to take over the Bank of Antigua that was part of the empire of Texan financier, Allen Stanford, currently facing fraud charges involving some US$9 billion.
The unique development in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) banking and financial system began unfolding on Friday afternoon as depositors were desperately queuing up at branches to withdraw funds from the Bank of Antigua that held combined assets and deposits of EC$700 million.
In a press statement on Sunday, the ECCB said an agreement had been reached with the governments of Antigua and Barbuda and St Vincent and the Grenadines, and five indigenous private and state owned banks within the OECS — St Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank, Eastern Caribbean Financial Holdings (Bank of St Lucia), Antigua Commercial Bank, National Commercial Bank (St Vincent and the Grenadines) and National Bank of Dominica – for the formation of an entity to carry on the operations of the Bank of Antigua.
The new bank, which is understood to be called the Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank, will come into being on Monday, 23 February 2009.