Black Entrepreneurship in Trinidad: From Trinidad Co-operative Bank to First Citizens Bank

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Selwyn Ryan


Explains how the Co-operative Bank (CB), also known as the "Penny Bank" began and how this bank, the Workers Bank and the National Commercial Bank (NCB) found themselves in a state of near collapse during the economic crisis that befell the Trinidad and Tobago in 1986-1992.

The collective weaknesses of these indigenous banks and the fear that there might be a run on NCB which would contaminate the entire industry, led the managements of CB, NCB, the Workers Bank and the Central Bank to propose that the three banks should merge their operations. The Government agreed with their recommendation.

The merged Bank, the First Citizens Bank (FCB), not only survived, but went o to become the best performing financial group in Trinidad and indeed in the wider Caribbean.

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Author Biography

Selwyn Ryan, Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine

Professor Emeritus, Political Science