When Bank of The Bahamas received the Euromoney Award for Excellence this year for the fourth time and was named Best Bank in The Country by The Banker, part of the Financial Times Group, for the third time during the same fiscal year, it was an historic milestone in the nation and for the young bank. No other Bahamian bank had ever come close to achieving such international recognition. Yet Managing Director Paul McWeeney hesitated to publicize the two awards, believing the news should be shared with shareholders and stakeholders as opposed to making it a reason for boasting when so many in the nation are still struggling. The Bank, he believes, should continue to do what it has done to grow from infancy 24 years ago to where it is now, rather than basking in recognition.
Yet the history is nothing short of noteworthy. Since its creation through the acquisition of an established Canadian bank in 1988, Bank of The Bahamas has grown from $90 million in assets to nearly $861 million as of June 30, 2012, from three locations to 13, from serving two islands to a presence on seven, from providing the most basic of retail banking services to the most comprehensive of financial products. In just over a decade, shareholder equity has mushroomed from $19 million in 2000 to $117 million by 2012.
Bank of The Bahamas Limited’s record of firsts, highlighted throughout this report, includes first to provide trust services for Bahamians, first to offer full, comprehensive online banking complete with cheque imaging, first to comply with Check 21 Procedures using electronic images to clear US dollar deposits in a timely fashion, first to offer VISA pre-paid and gift cards, first to host a major mortgage fair attracting thousands and first to launch the unique Medline Visa card for medical services with negotiated rates enabling cardholders to benefit from reduced cost medical care at top facilities in The Bahamas and South Florida, first and only bank to win Euromoney’s Best Bank award four times and The Banker’s Bracken Award for Excellence three times, seven times the country’s best bank by two major international reviews.
1970 - The Bank was incorporated in The Commonwealth of The Bahamas on April 17 as Bank of Montreal (Bahamas & Caribbean) Limited.
1983 - its name was changed to Bank of Montreal Bahamas Limited.
1988 - the Government of The Bahamas created a joint venture with Euro Canadian Bank Limited, purchasing 51% of the shares.
1990 - the Government purchased all of the shares held by Euro Canadian Bank Limited and issued an additional 7,000,000 shares, bringing the total number of shares issued to 10,000,000.
1994 - the Government sold 20% of its shareholding or 2,000,000 shares to the Bahamian public. In
1995 - the Government offered a further 3,000,000 shares of the Bank to the Bahamian public. Both offerings were substantially oversubscribed.
2000 – the Bank launched a wholly-owned subsidiary, Bank of The Bahamas Trust Limited, becoming the first financial services center to offer Trust services for Bahamians.
2002 - the trading name Bank of The Bahamas International was introduced to reflect the expanding direction of the institution.
2003 - the Bank acquired the assets of Workers Bank Limited, increasing its branches in New Providence to four. The Bank also acquired Citibank N.A. Bahamas' mortgage portfolio of $22,459,682 at a cost of $20,995,859. The closing of the contract, which included full payment to the seller, occurred on July 1, 2003.
2005 - The Bank continued to experience extraordinary success as it was able to announce an oversubscribed rights offering of $25 million. The Bank also hosted an Incredible Dream Mortgage Fair, the first of its kind in the nation. The fair was a success, resulting in a doubling of the Bank’s loan portfolio.
2006 - a subsequent $15 million private placement preference share offering was held. Authorized Capital of the Bank was at 150,000,000 Shares of B$1 par value. The Bank embarked on a multimillion technology investment to overhaul the back end of data entry and storage and enable Bank of The Bahamas to provide the best possible business solutions with ongoing analysis.
2007 - Bank of The Bahamas became the first Bahamian bank with a financial services centre in Florida where Bahamians who do business there every day are able to do so with greater efficiency and ease. That same year, closer to home, BOB acquired the mortgage portfolio of Citibank as it shed its domestic book of business.
2008 to 2011 - BOB grew its Private Banking and Trust services division, assisting clients with personalized banking to free up their most valuable asset, time.
2009 - a $20 million preference share offering further increased capital to support expansion.
2012 - work was completed on the new Carmichael Road branch which was opened in December.
2013 - The Bank was able to bolster to its capital to 22.89% in compliance with Central Bank and Basel III requirements. BOB also became the first bank in the country to offer non-envelope ATM transactions.