Leading the way in innovation
Antigua and Barbuda's financial services "Grandfather" leads the way in innovation by enhancing the "Fintech" factor for the banking industry
Antigua and Barbuda became an independent Caribbean nation in 1981, and Global Bank of Commerce became the first bank to be locally licensed in 1983 under the country's International Business Corporations Act, and has consistently continued to lead the way in Antigua in terms of financial innovation throughout its life.
As a Caribbean owned and operated financial institution, with more than 36 years' experience in managing family wealth and investments generation by generation, it has rightly earned the title as the Grandfather of international financial services in the Caribbean country.
Innovative and competitive management of multicurrency accounts, trade facilitation, worldwide wire transfers, personal banking and escrow services to public and private entities, as well as wholesale banking services deliver huge value for its local and international clients. Coupled with strong and deep relationships with major international asset management and brokerage firms, and its role in providing financing for government projects cements its position in underpinning the economy of Antigua and Barbuda.
With regards to its banking relationship with government projects, particularly public - private partnerships, the bank has provided critical bridge financing necessary for the Antigua government's strategic investments, such as the acquisition of the country's sole oil storage and distribution business, the West indies Oil Company, and has continued to work with the public/private sectors in a variety of financial business services.
The bank supports the strong diplomatic relationship and economic cooperation between Antigua and Barbuda and China, and is qualified to serve as an escrow bank to facilitate the drawdowns of concessional loans granted by China's Export-Import Bank for key infrastructure development projects. Such projects include Antigua's Deep Water Port Expansion as a commercial and transhipment hub, or the modernization of the International Airport, as well as community projects in education, sports and health. It also manages banking services for a number of Chinese companies conducting business in Antigua.
Chief Executive Officer, Brian Stuart-Young, offers a new vision for the growth of tourism and investment in the economy of Antigua and Barbuda. 'Traditionally we have looked to the North for trade, direct investments and the sale of our services, but as our exposure in these Northern markets reflect modest growth, we must seek new markets in a South-South relationship, China being a key one. It will also be essential to build banking relationships between banks in Antigua and those in China, which can support the development of trade, investments and tourism exchanges.'
It is for this reason that as business continues to grow between the Caribbean and China, and will expand further under China's Belt and Road Initiative, the bank invested in membership of China's card payment services to its clients, in order to help facilitate trade and online payments to Chinese merchants. The bank became a member of China's Union Pay International and can issue and acquire UPI Cards and facilitate transactions for Caribbean persons visiting China and with Chinese visitors at tourism -related merchants.
To improve Antigua's payment services, the bank implemented its own fintech centre for processing electronic financial transactions. The first step was to invest in establishing a significant electronic data centre called Global Processing Centre, certified by Visa, MasterCard and China's Union Pay. "It is bank-neutral and not only works for our bank, but also with other regional and international institutions", Mr. Stuart-Young has said. The bank, having built its processing platform, then developed SugaPay ("the sweetest way to pay") as its own indigenous alternative payment solution offering merchants a mobile payment solution. SugaPay is Antigua's version of a WeChat Pay and AliPay.
Global Bank of Commerce continues to lead the way in fintech. 'By knowing our customers and complying with international regulatory standards, the Bank responds to client demands for more personalized and convenient services to best support superior banking relationships.'
Ultimately, it all comes down to offering the best possible services and financial solutions, and Global Bank of Commerce's place as the leader in fintech innovation will ensure it is poised for growth as Antigua and Barbuda progresses and welcomes visitors and investors from new markets.