For over 50 years, the Commonwealth Bank Bahamas has been regarded as one of the Bahamas’ most highly favored local banks. The bank was a subsidiary of Laurentide Financial Corporation Limited, a Canada-based company, when it opened its doors in 1960. Two decades after, the bank became a fully Bahamian-owned bank in 1984. Six years later, it made banking history when it became the first ever Bahamian-owned bank to achieve Clearing Bank and Authorized Dealer status.
The Commonwealth Bank Bahamas is one of the most successful financial institutions in Bahamas history. Starting out as a small institution, its first office was located in Palmdale, Nassau, situated at the back of a Bahamas local furniture store. They only had three employees at that time. But it soon gained popularity due to the accessibility of their services to the average Bahamas local such as financing for travel and home improvement. Due to some economic turmoil, Laurentide Financial Corporation Limited decided to let go of its shares in the bank. Lady Margaret Symonette and her stepson, Robert H. ‘Bobby’ Symonette led the effort in forming the first bank to ever be fully-owned and run by Bahamians by gathering local investors and using local resources as well as capital. Once established, Robert Symonette, as the bank’s President, and the new Board of Directors enabled the small institution to progress and grow. Under their guidance, the first ever Bahamian credit card, SunCard, was launched.
The bank’s core principle is to revolutionize the banking industry in the Bahamas and its mission is to be a financial partner to every working Bahamian. Its goal is to provide Bahamians a means to achieve their dreams and aspirations in life.
Today, the Commonwealth Bank Bahamas has assets amounting to billions of dollars; they have common shares numbering around 98 million and approximately 6,500 shareholders. They also have eleven branches located in various locations like Abaco Bahamas, Grand Bahama, and Nassau. The Commonwealth Bank Bahamas’ over-subscribed IPO has led the bank to be recognized as the largest and most successful Bahamian public company. During their 50th Anniversary last 2010, CEO William B. Sands, Jr. said that their accomplishment for the past five decades is a testament to their steadfast mission to provide the best banking service in a friendly and prompt manner.