Heritage Bank Successfully Undertakes Historic Acquisition!
In 2015 when the Heritage Bank team members were working diligently towards annual goals and objectives, there was a change being undertaken by CIBC First Caribbean Bank. The Directors of that institution made a decision to wrap up their business services in Belize. This decision meant that other Banks in Belize would have the opportunity to purchase the assets of the CIBCFCIB Belize business. When this opportunity arose, it was with foresight of the potential benefits that our Managing Director made every effort to ensure that Heritage Bank was in contention to bid for the assets of CIBCFCIB in Belize. It was through determination and sheer will that the Managing Director led the effort that eventually materialized into Heritage Bank being the Bank left standing to reap the benefits of the CIBCFCIB Belize acquisition.
The work to transform an acquisition into a transition of assets was no easy feat and proved to be a humbling experience. However, the Heritage Bank team members were up to the task and rose to the challenge. After a few false starts and delays, all teams mobilized and ensured they were ready to do their part. Operations & IT worked weekends and late nights to prepare for the transition. Throughout the transition, there were countless hours spent organizing, preparing cards for delivery, cleaning data, addressing customer concerns and a host of other related tasks. The instantaneous growth in customer-related activities led to a new team being added. The BPC, Business Processing Center, mobilized quickly and took on these activities successfully.
The toll of extra work and late hours showed on the faces of team members but everyone kept pace with the changes and were determined to make the transition a success. The overwhelming feeling that we were about to accomplish something that had never been done before in Belize kept everyone focused throughout the late nights. We were making history in our daily efforts. A small local Bank was in the trenches taking over the assets of a larger, International Bank. This had never before happened in Belize, and may not happen again in the near future, and the Heritage Bank team wanted to make its mark.
Post transition, the changes continue throughout the Bank. The benefits of the acquisition are beginning to bear fruit. The hard and diligent work by the staff has not gone unnoticed. There are new opportunities opening up for promotions, cross training and wider growth. There are numerous new team members who have joined the Heritage Bank family in the city and at district branches and we welcome them to the team. The Bank has seen overnight growth in its customer base with over 7000 new deposit accounts and over 4000 new lending accounts being added from the acquisition, doubling the Balance Sheet over one weekend. Through all the disruption and challenges, the bottom line shows that at least 99% of the transitioned customers have been successfully integrated into the Bank’s services.
Under the tutelage of our Managing Director and Board of Directors, we continue to streamline our new responsibilities. The workload is still high for many, some have adapted well and some continue to work through the challenges but all have embraced the new reality of Heritage Bank which can no longer be referred to as a small local Bank. From inception to implementation to completion, the transition proved to be an undertaking of David and Goliath proportions. We were out of our comfort zone but we grew, we thrived, we learned, we endured and now we can move forward knowing that Heritage Bank is stronger and more agile to take on new challenges.
It is with gratitude and warm hearts that we thank all those who did their part in making this historic transition a resounding success. As we go through our busy day, it is easy to overlook our successes and accomplishments. Let us all be sure to look back and appreciate where we were just a few months ago and then look around you and appreciate where we are now. We are standing on a more solid foundation that will take the team into a more successful future at Heritage Bank.