The Year of Return – The Republic Bank story

Farid Antar, Managing Director, Republic Bank (Ghana) Limited

Long, long ago, millions of Africans were shipped across the Atlantic Ocean in the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Africans were forcibly taken to British-owned colonies in the Caribbean and sold as slaves to work on plantations.  Slaves from Africa were mainly from Nigeria, Angola, Congo, Kenya and the Gold Coast

By the end of the 18th century, African slave labour had become the basis of the socio-economic structure of those islands. The British slave trade officially ended in 1807, making the buying and selling of slaves from Africa illegal. On 1st August 1834, Emancipation finally came.

Following Emancipation, there was a need for the creation of some type of banking institution in the British Caribbean. The Colonial Bank was incorporated in 1837. In 1916, the Colonial Bank expanded into West Africa via Ghana.

Barclays Bank purchased shares in Colonial Bank in 1917; and in 1924 Barclays merged three of its banks to form its international arm called Barclays Bank DCO.

In 1970, during the Black Power demonstration, one of the main demands of activists was an increase in local ownership of banks and institutions in Trinidad and Tobago. In 1972, Barclays was localised and the name changed to Barclays Bank of Trinidad and Tobago Limited.

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In 1981, the bank became majority locally-owned, and by special resolution changed its name to Republic Bank Limited.

The bank survived many adversities and grew to become one of the super-powers in banking in the Caribbean. Republic Bank has over the years in operation:

  • acquired majority shares in National Commercial Bank of Grenada
  • acquired Bank of Commerce in Trinidad & Tobago
  • acquired Barbados National Bank
  • acquired National Bank of Industry & Commerce in Guyana
  • acquired Guyana National Corporative Bank
  • acquired RBC Bank of Suriname
  • acquired Cayman National Corporation
  • acquired Dextra Bank & Trust Limited in Cayman
  • set up a Captive Insurance Company in the Cayman Islands
  • acquired majority shares on Reliance Stockbrokers in Trinidad & Tobago

In all, Republic Bank has 18 subsidiaries spread across eight different countries.

After 175 years of nurturing and building an international brand, Republic Bank in 2012 entered the Ghanaian market by forming a relationship with HFC Bank. In 2015, Republic Bank acquired majority interest and rebranded from HFC Bank to Republic Bank (Ghana) Limited in 2018.

Republic Bank entering Africa symbolises the labour of our forefathers – who were shipped to the Caribbean in slavery – bearing fruit and returning home to us in Africa.

In 2015 the Group was restructured with the formation of Republic Financial Holdings Limited, which is now the parent of Republic Bank Ghana.

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Republic Financial Holdings during its few years in Ghana has invested over US$200million, which has been described as one of the largest single investments by a diaspora country back into Africa

The management and staff of Republic Bank Ghana are more than ever determined to uphold this legacy of our forefathers.

If you believe in this cause, why don’t you join hands as brothers & sisters, partners in Business, so together we can make this happen.

Republic Bank, we’re the one for you.

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