World’s Best Banks 2024—The Caribbean

Nearshoring, tourism boom and increased remittances add to 2023 growth.

According to International Monetary Fund estimates, the region (excluding Guyana, which grew an eye-popping 39.2% this year) expanded by 9.8%, exceeding the global growth rate of 3.1%.

Among the region’s leading economies, Antigua and Barbuda’s solid 5.7% in GDP activity and Barbados’ 4.4% expansion have helped pave the way for the region’s robust activity.

The hot regional economic activity drove profitability upward and provided a solid foundation for the region’s financial industry. This was mainly due to increased loan portfolios, higher interest charges, and improved delinquency rates in the commercial loan sector.

Against this backdrop, Banreservas takes the award for the Best Bank in the Caribbean and in its home country, the Dominican Republic, for the second year running. Taking advantage of the favorable year to post an impressive 11% net income growth year-over-year (YoY), the Dominican-based giant maintained delinquency rates at a historic low of 0.66%.

The bank’s total deposits reached $15.1 billion in 2023, surpassing 2022 by a staggering $1 billion. This achievement positioned the bank as a leader in the Dominican banking system, commanding a 38% market share.

Additionally, Banreservas made history by becoming the first bank in the Dominican Republic to achieve a historic benchmark in its loan portfolio, surpassing $8.7 billion. As a result, the bank solidified its position in its home market by capturing 36.9% of the market share in assets, totaling $19.6 billion.

Canada-based Scotiabank dominated the year in the Caribbean islands, taking home five awards: for the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and for Turks and Caicos.

In the Bahamas, the bank’s profitability reached its highest point in 15 years, with earnings soaring by nearly 46% compared to 2022. The trend was driven mainly by a 37-basis point (bp) YoY rise in total loan market share and a 49 bp growth in total deposit market share.

Scotiabank Barbados focused on improving digital inclusion by bolstering its digital offerings. As a result, the bank’s digital adoption grew to 244,000 transactions, a 57% YoY increase. On the financial side, these initiatives led to profitability nearly doubling YoY, with return on equity (ROE) jumping by 9%.

In Jamaica, the Canadian bank’s strong financial performance was driven by growth across all core business lines, resulting in an impressive net income of $17.3 billion for the fiscal year ending October 31, 2023. This marks a $6.9 billion increase in total profits, 67% over the previous year.

Focusing on digital offerings also proved a winning strategy in Trinidad & Tobago, where the bank posted a 7% YoY growth in its loan portfolio, a 14.95% ROE and a 44.7% operational efficiency ratio.

The Canadian giant’s best performance was in Turks & Caicos. Boosted by red-hot loan activity and a solid delinquency ratio, the bank achieved a stellar ROE of 138% and a 203% increase in net profit, reaching $27 million.

FirstBank took home twin awards for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. In the former, the bank continues to leverage its 2020 acquisition of Santander’s $5.5 billion local assets to deepen its leadership position. In the latter, the bank took advantage of soaring tourism activity to boost its loan portfolio by 11.8% YoY.

Our Cayman Islands and Bermuda winner, Butterfield Bank, focused on digital inclusion to garnish impressive metrics for its customers. The bank posted a solid 24.2% ROE and an 58.1% core efficiency ratio. As a result, the bank’s net interest income reached a staggering $367 million and non-interest income $212 million.

Best Banks In The Caribbean
BarbadosScotiabank Barbados
Cayman IslandsButterfield Bank
Dominican RepublicBanReservas
JamaicaScotiabank Jamaica
Puerto RicoFirstBank
Trinidad and TobagoScotiabank Trinidad & Tobago
Turks and CaicosScotiabank Turks & Caicos
US Virgin IslandsFirstBank