Sir Edmund Lawrence GCMG OBE CSM JP, one of the founding members of the St. Kitts Industrial Bank Ltd, recognized in 1969 the need for change that resulted in transforming the man, the vision, and the country. Initially known as the "Penny Bank" with a motto of "Saving For A Rainy Day," it continued serving the population until 1971 when it was renamed the St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank. It gradually developed a reputation as a bank for the people. Sir Edmund Lawrence managed the Bank from 1971 through 1982. He returned to the Bank as Managing Director in 1996 until his retirement in 2012.
Under his leadership, the Bank flourished and became the largest bank in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union. Although he retired from the Bank in 2012, Sir Edmund left an indelible mark on our minds and the banking history of the Federation of Kitts and Nevis. He later served as the third Governor General of St. Kitts and Nevis. He will always be remembered as a visionary.
Where It All Began
In 1969, St. Kitts Industrial Bank Ltd. was formed by Sir Edmund Lawrence and Mr Edgar Bridgewater to serve the needs of local people. The bank faced concerns about its sustainability and expertise in banking and finance, hindering its growth. The federal government recognized the bank's potential and invested in the institution by becoming a shareholder.
In 1971, the bank changed its name from St. Kitts Industrial Bank Ltd. to St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank Ltd. and focused on developing correspondent banking relationships. Gradually, it gained the people's trust and developed a reputation as a bank for the people. Today, it is the largest bank in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union.
Pioneering Banking Excellence Since 1971
The Early Days
In the quaint days of 1971, the St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank Limited emerged, carving its niche in the heart of the community. Opening its doors in September of that year, amidst the historic surroundings of New and Central Streets, the Bank embarked on a remarkable journey. Spearheaded by the Honourable Robert Bradshaw, the Premier of St. Kitts and Nevis at the time, the Bank welcomed its first customers with Sir. Edmund Lawrence at the helm.
The Founding Team
A group of trailblazers, our early staff members, including the likes of Seymour Morton, Georgina Adams, and Warren Nisbett, embraced the challenges of those initial days. Armed with just two manual typewriters, the team ventured into the financial landscape with a mission to make banking accessible to all.
Building Trust, One Customer at a Time
The journey wasn't without its hurdles. Limited correspondent banking relations and handwritten transactions were the norm. Yet, the spirit of innovation thrived. Trips to Barclays Bank for cash, handwritten account calculations, and personal outreach to the community became the fabric of our story.
As aspirations soared, National Bank became the catalyst for dreams to materialize. The Loan Department, led by Mrs. Claudina Lloyd (Davis), empowered civil servants to own homes, transforming the landscape of Suncrest and Bird Rock. The Bank's family expanded in 1972 with the birth of National Bank Trust Company and later, the National Caribbean Insurance Company in 1973.
Evolution in Motion
The demand for our services necessitated a change in scenery. In 1975, National Bank found a new home at New and Central Streets, Basseterre. This move marked the beginning of a technological evolution, witnessed by the introduction of the Burroughs posting machine and later, the Bank's foray into computerization in the early 1980s.
Under the leadership of Mr. Ernest Pistana, the Bank leaped into the world of computers in the 1980s. The '90s saw the arrival of ATMs, electronic payments, and credit card services. In 2001, as principal members of VISA and Mastercard International, National Bank unveiled its VISA branded international debit card, a symbol of our commitment to innovation.
Pioneering Online Banking
The turn of the millennium brought a wave of digital transformation. In 2004, National Bank introduced online banking, propelling us into the realm of 24-hour accessibility. Mobile banking soon followed, putting the power of banking in the palm of our customers' hands.
Period of Transition
In 2012, the retirement of Sir Edmund Wickham Lawrence marked the end of an era and ushered in a new chapter with Ms. Dawne Williams becoming the Bank's first female Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in 2013. Ms. Williams tenure ended in 2016 and made way for Mr. Donald Thompson who was appointed as CEO in 2019 and served until September 2023.
Celebrating 50 Years
As we celebrate 50 years of service, National Bank stands tall with an issued share capital exceeding $135 million and assets exceeding $3 billion. Our success is not just financial; it's a testament to the dedication of our staff and the trust bestowed upon us by our customers and shareholders.
National Bank's journey is a story of growth, innovation, and community spirit. As we stride into the future, we remain committed to our core values, ready to embrace the next chapter, and serve you for another 50 years and beyond. Thank you for being a part of our remarkable journey.