Nassau, 25 Feb 2015 – Commonwealth Bank, today, reported unaudited total profit of $53 million in 2014. Total assets closed to $1.47 billion at December 31, 2014. Earnings were up 7% over 2013 when the Bank reported total profit of $50 million. Total assets were up 3% over 2013.
“I am pleased with the Bank’s results in 2014,” said William B. Sands Jr., Executive Chairman of Commonwealth Bank.
“They confirm that our business strategy remains appropriate and that our staff remains both capable and dedicated to the plan as laid out by the Board and Executive Management.”
The improvement reported in total profit for the year was despite the introduction of a new $5 million turnover based business license fee in 2014.
Interest Expense declined in 2014 as the chronic excess liquidity in the system continued to depress deposit interest rates. For 2014 interest expense was $31.7 million compared to $35.5 million a year earlier. Sands noted that, “Although the bank grew its loan book by 3% in 2014 – the timing of the growth was such that it did not materially impact fiscal 2014. We expect to see the full impact of the growth in 2015 when the new loans would have earned interest for a full year.”
Amid an environment of high nonperforming loans, Commonwealth Bank continued to record low levels of impairment in its portfolio when compared to the industry averages. As a result the Bank was able to reduce its loan impairment expenses by $3.4 million compared to 2013. Charged Off Loans declined by almost $6.5 million in 2014 to $28.4 million, while at the same time, Balance Sheet allowances for loan impairment increased by $1.2 million over 2013 to $55.5 million. On December 31, 2014, Commonwealth Bank’s impaired loans represented 5.8% of its total outstanding loans. The industry’s impaired loans, as reported by The Central Bank, were 16.1% of aggregate loans of all banks.
The Bank’s total expenses grew by 10% in 2014 which equated to $5.9 million. Total Group taxes and license fees increased by $4.2 million over 2013. Apart from the increase in tax and government license fees, most of the remaining increase was in variable costs.
Commonwealth Bank continues to report strong capital and liquidity ratios with a capital ratio of 27.9% and a liquidity ratio of 33.6% compared to the requirements of The Central Bank of 17% and 20% respectively.
The Bank’s earnings per share was $0.49, return on assets was 3.3% and return on equity was 23.1%. These all compare favourably with 2013 when the Bank reported $0.46, 3.1%, and 23.0%, respectively.
The Bank continued to share its success with its shareholders through uninterrupted quarterly dividend payments. Dividend payments totaled $0.30 per share in 2014 and were unchanged from 2013.
Showing appreciation for the results, Sands pronounced “Commonwealth Bank remains grateful to our customers and shareholders for their continued support. I want to personally thank every member of our team of dedicated professionals who are integral to our success.”
Commonwealth Bank is the largest Bahamian owned bank listed on BISX. The Bank is a market leader in service and convenience, operating eleven branches in New Providence, Abaco and Grand Bahama and employs over 530 staff.
Please visit the Bank‘s website at www.combankltd.com for information on Commonwealth Bank’s dividend payment history, other financial reporting information and a full set of audited financial statements which will be published on our website within the time frame established by BISX.
Fuel prices are on the rise again after near 40% decline earlier this year
#TurksandCaicos, December 5, 2023 – FortisTCI is closely monitoring the impact of external shocks on market fuel prices, which continue to cause increases in the fuel factor rate and result in higher electricity bills. Higher global demand for fuel along with production cuts by leading oil producing countries have caused an increase in market prices, according to J.P. Morgan. While it is difficult to forecast far in advance precisely how prices will change, new projections from our fuel supplier indicate that fuel prices will continue to rise over the next several weeks. As a result, the fuel factor rate on November’s electricity bills increased by up to 10% across some service territories.
The fuel factor rate on customer electricity bills changes with average market fuel prices. Prior to this upswing in prices, fuel factor rates were more stable this year, falling nearly 40% across most service territories between February and September. This downward trend was contrasted by high energy demand during the summer as outside temperatures reached record-breaking levels.
The fuel factor rate on electricity bills is charged for every kilowatt hour of electricity used. When the fuel factor rate increases and a customer’s energy consumption increases, their electricity bill will be higher. Similarly, if both decrease, their electricity bill will be lower. If one increases but the other decreases, this will have a more balancing effect. If the customer consumes the same kilowatt hours of electricity, but their electricity bill has increased, the fuel factor rate has likely risen.
FortisTCI understands the challenges associated with higher electricity bills and is committed to diversifying how energy is produced and supporting customers during this time. The Company continues to advocate for suitably tailored, holistic utility sector regulatory reform, and continues to integrate alternative energy sources to the grid through roof-top solar systems and solar-powered microgrids with battery energy storage technology. These projects help to increase the amount of renewable energy on the grid, reduce the impact of global fuel price shocks on local energy costs over time, and lower carbon emissions.
Changes in the fuel factor rate can be tracked by comparing electricity bills. Notices regarding these changes are also issued monthly via email, social media, and other mainstream channels. Customers can also view their daily energy usage data via the Company’s free customer portal at www.myftcionline.com.
The Bahamas Achieves Unprecedented Tourism Success with Record-Breaking Eight Million Visitors
#NASSAU, Bahamas (December 4, 2023) – The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation is proud to announce a historic achievement in tourism, with the country welcoming a record-breaking eight million annual visitors this year. This remarkable success stands as a testament to the unified efforts, strategic planning, and visionary initiatives championed not only by the Ministry of Tourism but strengthened by the invaluable support of key stakeholders like the Nassau/Paradise Island Promotion, The Bahamas Out Islands Promotion Board and The Bahamas Hotel & Tourism Association.
The Hon. I. Chester Cooper, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism shared his optimism, stating, “The Bahamas has long been a sought-after destination, and reaching eight million visitors is a milestone that reflects the collective dedication of our tourism professionals nationwide. Our success lies not just in our islands’ allure but in the strategic endeavours we have embraced. As we celebrate this achievement, we are equally focused on shaping a future that ensures sustained year-over-year growth and enhances the visitor experience.”
Sales and marketing strategies have been instrumental in positioning The Bahamas as a premier travel destination. The Ministry of Tourism reached global audiences through targeted campaigns utilizing digital marketing, social media, and strategic partnerships. These efforts, combined with creative and impactful advertising initiatives, showcased the diverse attractions and unique experiences that continue to make The Bahamas a must-visit destination.
The government’s commitment to ensuring a seamless and welcoming travel environment has fostered positive relations with industry partners. Innovative cruise strategies, accompanied by increased airlift, have significantly contributed to the surge in visitor numbers. Also collaborations with major cruise lines, the development of new cruise ports, and the introduction of new shore excursions have enhanced the overall travel experience.
Latia Duncombe, Director General of Tourism, remarked, “This historic milestone in visitor arrivals is a clear indicator of the unique charm and richness of our 16-island destination. Our unwavering dedication to offering diverse, authentic experiences underlines our strategy for Brand Bahamas. We ensure every traveler’s journey is not just a visit, but an unforgettable, enriching experience that beckons a return to our beautiful shores.”
Crucially, the support and collaboration of tourism stakeholders, promotion boards and hotel partners have played a vital role in this success. DPM Cooper underscored the importance of this collaboration, stating, “Our partners have been instrumental in achieving this milestone. Their continued collaboration is key to our sustained success, and together, we will shape the future of Bahamian tourism and the Bahamian economy.”
As The Bahamas celebrates this unprecedented achievement, the Ministry of Tourism looks ahead, developing future strategies to ensure sustained growth in visitor arrivals and a continued positive trajectory for the tourism industry.
Release: Bahamas Ministry of Tourism
Stunning Space Opened for Turks & Caicos in Nassau
#TheBahamas, December 2, 2023 – The golden ribbon is cut and the Nassau-based Turks & Caicos diaspora office is officially unveiled. The opening ceremony, held at the new office, was attended by high-level delegates including Washington Misick, TCI Premier.
“I’m very proud and very privileged to be able to stand here and speak to you and I would especially like to thank someone who has become a friend in the person of the honorable Prime Minister of The Bahamas,” he said.
Bahamian support was critical in the venture, which sprung up as an answer to the TCIs desperate employment and immigration crisis. With hundreds of vacancies open across the public and private sector, and no one to fill them, the country needed more people but immigration rates were already far too high, posing a risk of disenfranchisement of islanders.
In order to fix both issues the government introduced a migration scheme allowing third-generation islanders with bloodline connections to claim citizenship. They quickly partnered with The Bahamas, one of the closest and the largest parts of its diaspora
Philip Davis, Prime Minister of The Bahamas was on hand while the Premier spoke and also brought remarks. The strong bond between the Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas was emphasized by Davis, as he spoke
“The Turks and Caicos’s islands were part of the Bahamas, they even had a representative in our parliament. We were one nation,” he said.
Bahamian parliament has been supportive of the diaspora plan, which could see TCI-Bahamians migrating away from the Bahamas and into the Turks and Caicos, since its inception in early 2023.
The colors of the Turks and Caicos islands were on proud display in the newly office. Attendees were allowed to tour the building during the Grand Opening on November 28th.
Bright white and modern meeting areas with turquoise accents and TCI logos will be the backdrop for immigration negotiations
Also present at the event, a strong proponent of the grafting in third generation plan, Immigration Minister Arlington Musgrove, and Deputy Governor Anya Williams. The officials have now concretized a journey they started together in February when the idea of a Diaspora office was announced.
The office is the first of its kind established by the Turks and Caicos Islands. It is located on the 2nd Floor of The Bahamas Financial Center, Shirley and Charlotte Streets.
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