History of Republic Bank

Republic Bank (Guyana) Limited's history spans 180 years, originating in 1836 as the British Guiana Bank, which has several firsts: It was the first commercial bank to start business in the colony of British Guiana. It was the first indigenous commercial bank and it was the first bank owned by the indigenous private sector.

In 1914 the British Guiana Bank was purchased by the Royal Bank of Canada and became the second foreign-owned commercial bank in the history of the country. In 1984 after 70 years in Guyana, the Royal Bank closed its operations and sold the bank to the Government of Guyana. Thus came into being the new financial entity – the National Bank of Industry and Commerce Limited, which was converted into a public company when the Government sold approximately 50% of its stock to local private sector interests. National Bank of Industry and Commerce Limited is the only bank in Guyana that has changed from local ownership to foreign ownership then, full circle, to local ownership again.

The establishment of the first private indigenous bank to operate in British Guiana was on November 11, 1836. Business commenced in Georgetown on February 16, 1837 and in New Amsterdam on March 06, 1837. Prior to this establishment the economy of the country was not conducive to banking as both external and internal trade were largely on a barter basis. Many products such as tobacco, sugar, cotton and rum, were used in exchange for other goods. Money was not yet accepted as a medium of exchange. Towards the end of the 18th century, however, Berbice, Demerara and Essequibo began to experience economic growth and with it, an increase in the circulation of money.

In 1939, on the outbreak of World War II, many persons had flocked the Savings Banks to withdraw their savings because of rumours that there would be a freeze on all deposits. Inflation during the war nevertheless, caused deposits in the bank to soar.

February 1945, was a month of tragedy – the great fire raged through the business sector of Georgetown leaving a number of charred and gutted buildings, including the Royal Bank of Canada. The Bank’s building, which was completely destroyed, also housed the residence of the Manager, Mr. A.D. Machillivray. The Royal Bank building was completely rebuilt in 1948 by Messrs. Sprostons Ltd., and boasted as being the first to be erected after the fire, thus reflecting the bank’s ability to survive despite the most trying of circumstances.

On November 21, 1984, the National Bank of Industry and Commerce was incorporated under the Company Act as a private limited liability company with an authorised share capital of $20,000,000: and on May 11, 1985 was converted into a public company with an authorised share capital of $40,000,000 double that authorised at the commencement of the bank.

On October 13, 1997, Republic Bank Limited of Trinidad and Tobago became Majority Shareholder after purchasing 47.5% shares from government and National Insurance Scheme and 3.5% from individuals. (30% from government and 17.5% from NIS)

On June 5, 2006, the official name of the Bank (National Bank of Industry and Commerce) was re-branded to Republic Bank (Guyana) Limited.

© GMC – 2013
Go to top