Bank of Boston Corp. is selling off its two offices in Haiti as part of a strategic redeployment of capital into better-yielding assets, bank officials said.
The bank plans to sell its two Haitian retail and small-business branches in Port-au-Prince to a local investor group headed by Bank of Boston's general manager in Haiti, Guy Cuvilly.
Bank officials would not disclose terms of the deal. However, the bank said in a statement that sale of the operation would result in a "small gain" for the first quarter.
The transaction is expected to close by March 31. Bank of Boston will retain a small minority stake in the investor group.
"This is another example of a continued focus which calls on us to invest in businesses that are strategic for us - and to exit those that are not," said Mark MacLennan, group executive for international operations at Bank of Boston.
He added that the bank will continue to review all of its operations to see how it might best redeploy its capital "into areas with stronger growth and stronger returns."
The two branches in Haiti originally opened in 1973 and employ about 70 people. Bank of Boston said the Haitian branch employees will be retained by the new owners.
Sale of the Haitian offices is the latest in a series of divestitures by Bank of Boston, which earlier sold off a factoring business, two branches, and a loan portfolio in Puerto Rico, and banking units in Maine and Vermont.
The $46 billion-asset bank is continuing to expand its New England, Latin American, and Asian banking operations, and last month agreed to merge with BayBanks Inc., an $11 billion-asset retail and middle-market bank based in Boston.
Last year, Bank of Boston acquired 93 branches in Argentina, and plans to add at least 10 branches to its existing 26 in Brazil over the next two years. The bank is also considering expanding its Mexican and Colombian banking units, which opened last year, adding either a branch or a banking subsidiary in Peru, and increasing the number of offices it maintains in Asia.
Mr. MacLennan noted that the long-term goal is to develop Bank of Boston as a Pan-American banking institution. "We want to capitalize on the incredible strength of our Latin American franchise," he said. "We think our strength in the future will be as a 'Bank of the Americas.'"