Find Banking and Financial Services expertise in Saint Lucia
There are six commercial banks in Saint Lucia (2011). Three are locally incorporated: 1st National Bank Saint Lucia, Bank of Saint Lucia and RBTT Bank Caribbean. The other three are registered as branches of multinational financial institutions: Bank of Nova Scotia, CIBC First Caribbean International Bank and Royal Bank of Canada. In addition to this there are 55 non-banking financial institutions, the most of any Eastern Caribbean Currency Union country, which includes insurance companies, development banks, credit unions and offshore banks (2012).
Regulation of Financial Services
In understanding the financial system of Saint Lucia it is important to appreciate the country’s membership of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). The ECCU is a monetary union, comparable to the eurozone, made up of eight English-speaking countries and territories of the Caribbean (Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines). Entry into and operations within Saint Lucia’s financial system is governed and regulated by the ECCU’s central bank, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) and the Financial Sector Supervision Unit (FSSU), part of Saint Lucia’s Ministry of Finance. The ECCB also regulates the Caribbean Dollar, the single currency unit for member states.
In order to strengthen information exchange, regulation, supervision and co-operation between offshore financial centres within the ECCU, the ECCB established Single Regulatory Units (SRU) for the supervision of the financial sector. The units’ remit covers the international sector, domestic banks and non-bank financial institutions, including credit unions. In partnership with the ECCB, which has the primary supervisory responsibility, the Saint Lucian Financial Sector Supervision Unit (FSSU) is responsible for licensing, supervising and regulating both onshore and offshore financial services including insurance companies and international public mutual funds. The unit regulates in accordance with the International Financial Services Legislation and the Insurance Act.
Development of Financial Services
The World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index (2011) shows that Saint Lucia is top-ranking in overall ease of doing business, placing an impressive 5th out of 32 listed countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Equally Saint Lucia ranks highly with regards to protecting investors, ranking once again in 5th place. There is some scope for improvement in ease of getting credit, where it ranks moderately at 18th out of 32, along with Antigua and Barbuda. However, overall Saint Lucia has a well-developed financial system in comparison with other countries in the region.