By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank’s regional restructuring exercise is about 75 per cent through its, its top executive adding that the process was largely complete in the Bahamas.
Speaking with Tribune Business at CIBC FirstCaribbean’s Infrastructure Conference in Jamaica last week, Rik Parkhill said the region-wide restructuring undertaken by the bank was designed to lower overall operating costs and help the institution adjust to a lower growth environment.
It was revealed in January that the bank, which boasted a 3,500-strong Caribbean workforce, was looking to cut employee costs by 10 per cent. Mr Parkhill said at the time that the job cuts were meant to address the “negative impact of the global recession on profitability, which resulted in increased loan losses and fewer revenue-generating opportunities, and an increase in our operating costs”.
“The restructuring process had a couple of different goals,” he told Tribune Business last week. “One was to reduce our overall operating costs, and sort of adjust to a lower growth environment.
“There was also a large element to process simplification that would allow us to respond to customer demands far more rapidly. We just had too many layers between the people serving customers and the accountable executives.”
Back in March, Mr Parkhill told Tribune Business that some 70 per cent of the workers that left CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank (Bahamas) as a result of its ongoing restructuring were voluntary departures.
In a press conference with Caribbean media last week, he acknowledged that he would be voluntarily stepping down as CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank chief executive at the end of 2015, having held the post since September 2011. Senior CIBC executive Gary Brown will take his place.
“Despite the challenging economic circumstances I think the bank has turned the corner. You can see that in the last four quarters of our financial results, where we have been highly profitable,” Mr Parkhill said.
“I think we have stemmed the tide of turning around our non-performing loan portfolio, which is starting to decline. We are recording much lower loan loss expenses, which have been a consistent trend. Our operating expenses have dropped and we are now profitable in a lower growth environment, so we have adjusted our business model and our revenue is starting to pick up as well because we are really focusing on our clients, perhaps in a way we were not able to, just given some of the backdrop of problems that needed to be solved. I think that the best days of the bank are ahead of it.”