History of Republic Bank

Our story

Originally called Colonial Bank, we were born in 1837 as the first commercial bank in Trinidad and Tobago. Our 184-year history is testimony to a successful growth strategy fuelled by expansion through acquisition, prudent risk management principles, comprehensive and innovative corporate social investment programmes and initiatives, and visionary leadership paired with multitalented and loyal employees.

Through the years, we continuously evolved to match the demands of growing economies and the rapid social changes in the markets where we currently operate. Significant expansion during this period, through the acquisition of several subsidiaries, resulted in Republic Bank performing dual roles of a licensed commercial bank and a holding company for its subsidiaries. While the roles were well managed, the Group needed a more sustainable structure to facilitate even more effective management and good governance given our current and future strategies.

In December 2015, a decision was taken to form Republic Financial Holdings Limited by a Vesting Order, under the Financial Institutions Act, Chap 79:09, of the Laws of Trinidad and Tobago; successfully bringing the structure of the Republic Group in line with international best practices to facilitate future growth.

Who we are today

Headquartered in Trinidad and Tobago, Republic Financial Holdings Limited (RFHL) is the registered owner of all the banks in the Republic Group – Republic Bank Limited, Republic Bank (Guyana) Limited, Republic Bank (Barbados) Limited, Republic Bank (Grenada) Limited, Republic Bank (Suriname) N.V., Cayman National Corporation, Republic Bank (EC) Limited, Republic Bank (Anguilla) Limited, Republic Bank (St. Maarten) N.V. and Republic Bank (Ghana) Plc., Republic Bank (BVI) Limited as well as Republic Wealth Management Limited, Republic Life Insurance Company Limited and other subsidiaries. Across these markets, RFHL offers an extensive range of banking services, including credit and debit card issuance and processing, leasing, trustee services, mutual fund and investment management, and merchant banking.

As at September 30, 2022, the Group’s asset base stood at US$16.6 billion, and declared a net profit after tax and noncontrolling interest of US$252 million. The Group currently employs more than 6,035 staff in 23 subsidiaries operating in 14 countries.

While the Group continues its journey of financial growth and development, and teamwork with the community to bring about positive change, it is pledged to continually raise the standards of banking locally, regionally, and internationally.

Achievement timeline
1837 Colonial Bank opened its first office on Marine Square (now Independence Square) in Port of Spain
1925 Three prominent UK Banks merged and Colonial Bank became Barclays Bank (Dominion, Colonial and Overseas)
1971 Changed name to Barclays Bank International Limited
Established Republic Finance and Merchant Bank Limited (formerly Barclays Finance Corporation)
1972 Barclays Bank of Trinidad and Tobago (BBTT) incorporated locally and operations taken over by BBTT
Offered first issue of shares to the public
1981 Changed name to Republic Bank Limited
1986 First Automated Banking Machine (ABM) installed at Park Street Branch
1990 First bank in Trinidad & Tobago to establish a local credit card, VISA Republic card
1991 First bank in Trinidad & Tobago to link an ATM network to Visa International
Established Republic Securities Limited
1992 Purchased 51% shares in National Commercial Bank of Grenada Limited (NCB)
1994 Purchased 23% shares in Bank of Commerce Trinidad and Tobago Limited
Purchased 20% shares in CIBC West Indies Holdings Limited
1996 Acquired 100% shares in Bank of Commerce

Arranged a successful rights issue valued at US$95 million

Successfully integrated Bank of Commerce with Republic Bank Limited, making it one of the largest and most successful acquisitions in the Caribbean

Gained the largest branch and ABM network in Trinidad and Tobago

1998 Set up Republic Bank Insurance (Cayman) Limited, an offshore insurance company
1999 Established Republic Bank Trinidad and Tobago (Barbados) Limited, an offshore bank
2002 Established Representative Office in Havana, Cuba
2003 Acquired a 57.23% majority shareholding in Barbados National Bank Inc. (BNB)
Later increased shareholding in BNB to 65.1%
Launched Power To Make A Difference Programme
2004 Acquired a majority shareholding in Reliance Stockbrokers Limited
2005 Rebranded Banco Mercantil S.A. as Republic Bank (DR) S.A.
Reliance Stockbrokers Ltd. brand replaced with Republic Securities Limited, a subsidiary of Republic Bank Limited
2006 National Commercial Bank of Grenada Limited rebranded Republic Bank (Grenada) Limited
Acquired Dextra Bank and Trust Company's operations through Republic Bank Trinidad and Tobago (Cayman) Limited
National Bank of Industry and Commerce Ltd. rebranded Republic Bank (Guyana) Limited
Republic Bank (DR) S.A. sold retail portfolio
2007 Republic Bank (DR) S.A. sold operations
2008 Republic Bank (Grenada) Limited became the first Grenadian corporation to list its shares on the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange (ECSE)
2012 Barbados National Bank Inc. rebranded Republic Bank (Barbados) Limited
Acquired 8.79% shares in HFC Bank Ghana Limited
2013 Acquired the remaining 34.86% minority shareholding in Republic Bank (Barbados) Limited, making it a wholly owned subsidiary
Increased our shareholding in HFC Bank (Ghana) Limited to 40%, making us the largest single shareholder
2015 Acquired an additional 19.25% shareholding in HFC Bank (Ghana) Limited. This increased the shareholding by a 57.11% majority.
Acquired 100% shareholding in RBC Suriname N.V. which was re-branded Republic Suriname Holdings Limited
The Group was restructured which resulted in Republic Bank Financial Holdings Limited being established.
2016 Acquired an additional 24% shareholding of Republic Bank Grenada Limited. This increased the shareholdings to a 75%.
2017 Increased our shareholding in HFC Bank (Ghana) Limited to 58.51%
2018 HFC Bank (Ghana) Limited rebranded Republic Bank (Ghana) Limited
2019 Acquired 74.99% of Cayman National Corporation in March 2019
Acquired Scotiabank operations in Anguilla, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Maarten and St. Vincent and the Grenadines on November 1, 2019.
2020 Acquired Scotiabank operations in the British Virgin Islands on June 1, 2020.
Acquired an additional 9.90% shareholding of Republic Bank Grenada Limited. This increased the shareholdings to 84.90%.
Republic Bank (Ghana) Limited renamed to Republic Bank (Ghana) Plc.
2021 April 21- Joined leading global commercial banks as founding signatories to the United Nations-convened, Net-Zero Banking Alliance.
August 16 – Republic Financial Holdings Limited expanded its line of business to the insurance industry with the formation of Republic Evolve Limited.
September 15 – Republic Evolve Limited is renamed Republic Life Insurance Company Limited .
Go to top