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CEO denies claim of RBC’s buyout

By Mark Bassant CCN Senior Multimedia Investigative Journalist

British banking giant HSBC recently laid out its intention to buy out RBC Royal Bank—a subsidiary of RBC Financial (Caribbean)—now owned by RBC, Canada’s largest and most profitable bank. 
Senior banking sources within RBC Royal Bank told the Express and TV6News yesterday that RBC wanted to sell the operations side of the bank to HSBC (which entails mainly the branches), but retain RBC Royal Bank’s most profitable assets which include the trust, merchant and asset management.
However, senior banking officials say negotiations stalled recently between HSBC and RBC.
RBC’s acquisition of RBTT Financial in 2007 cost the Canadian bank $13.7 billion.
Yesterday the Express and TV6News contacted RBC’s chief executive Suresh Sookoo who said, “There is absolutely no truth to those reports. This is a quiet period at the moment. The sale of the bank to HSBC is something that is being created by the union. When the quiet period is over we can sit and speak in a one and one interview.”
RBC Financial has already sent a number of employees home as the banking group attempts to “streamline operations”.
Staff at RBC Royal Bank say “more people are being targeted and sent home”.
The Express and TV6News obtained a copy of what sources say was an internal e-mail indicating a possible merger of operations at one branch. Part of it read, “...we have taken a decision to amalgamate the Siparia Branch and the Siparia Lending Centre. The relocation of the Lending Centre to the branch at 61 High Street, Siparia, is scheduled for Monday, April 7, 2014.”
It continued, “We are confident that this move will help position us competitively in the market, and will serve to further strengthen our effectiveness and efficiency.”
The Express and TV6News obtained another circular sent out by the Human Resources department which indicated that shared services would also be downsized.
“We have taken a decision to implement new procedures for the operations of our kitchenettes and therefore kitchen assistants will no longer be assigned to kitchenettes in branches, units and functions. A minimal service at the Executive Office located at Royal Court and St Clair (will be retained). Employees will now be responsible for preparing their beverages, washing used utensils and leaving the kitchen tidy after use.”
Senior sources inside the bank say that approximately 52 people have already been sent home for the year and that figure is expected to double in the next few weeks.
A senior financial source familiar with bank buyouts and mergers told the Express and TV6News yesterday: “When RBC acquired RBC Royal Bank here and the other branches in the Caribbean they did not factor into consideration the cultural differences as well as the fact that credit standards in this region differ from the Canadian way of doing business.”
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