NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Scotiabank has been operating in the Caribbean for more than 129 years, and in The Bahamas since 1956. But over the past five years, many branches throughout the region have closed its doors for various reasons.
Last year, Scotiabank closed two of its branches in Belize.
Also, branches closed on the island capital of Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos and in Grace Bay, Providenciales last July and September 2018.
According to its website, Scotiabank currently operates 14 retail locations across The Bahamas.
The last Scotiabank branch to close in The Bahamas was in 2015.
Despite these recent closures in the region and in The Bahamas, Roger Archer, the Managing Director for Scotiabank Bahamas Limited maintains that Scotiabank is very much committed to The Bahamas market.
“We have been here for over 60 years and we are very excited about the future of our business here in The Bahamas,” Archer told Eyewitness News Online in an exclusive interview.
“You know, during the course of this year, we will be making some investments in the business to make it stronger.
“We will be making some changes in the way we do business, to make it more sustainable, to make it more customer-centric, and also to make sure that it is more sustainable going forward.
“In short, we are very excited about The Bahamas and I think it is just really that we go through that transformation process to make the business stronger, to make it more customer-centric and to build multiple touch points for our customers so that they can bank more conveniently.”
In 2015, Scotiabank closed two branches in Long Island and two in Eleuthera.
The bank also closed three locations in New Providence: East Street and Wulff Road, Caves Village and one at the Hilton’s Centre of Commerce.
Asked what led to these closures, Archer said the overall strategy of Scotiabank as it relates to The Bahamas, has been to ensure that the Bank ‘optimizes’ to serve the changing needs of its customers.
Archer said if one examines how banking is done globally, they would realize that it is in fact changing.
“What we are seeing is that customers are increasingly opting for digital banking channels to better manage their time, keep track of their accounts in real time, and reduce transaction costs,” Archer explained.
And while Archer could not state if he foresees any future closures of Scotia Banks in The Bahamas as a result of the bank moving towards a more digitized operation, Archer maintained that the financial services industry globally is going through a transformation. But in order to remain relevant and sustainable, Archer said Scotiabank must review its offerings and will make decisions based on what they are seeing at this specific point and time.
“I think this is a period of transformation across the financial services industry, regionally, globally and locally,” Archer said.
“Globally, we are going through a digital transformation, a digital evolution and as we go through a digital evolution what you are likely to see is the way that we currently serve customers, that is going to change over time and like any other business across the region locally and globally, we will look at how we can best do that.”
And despite moving towards the digital age, Archer said the move would not result in job cuts as staff would be engaged in different areas.
“It will actually improve the quality of the experience for our staff and what they are likely to be doing is providing greater value to our customers. It is all about how we will be better able to use our staff and this does not eliminate the need for staff at all,” Archer said.
Meanwhile, Archer said during the course of this year Scotiabank has plans to improve its customer experience with the implementation of intelligent automatic teller machines (ATMs), which will allow customers to deposit cash, cheques, get instant credit and carry out multiple transactions.
“We have to test [the intelligent ATM machines] with local bills and make sure they are working well, so we are actually in that testing phase. We are looking at the latter half of this year [for implementation],” Archer said.
Archer said historically, branches have been the focal point for transactions but moving forward, Scotia wants its customers to choose multiple points for which they could do transactions so that when they actually visit its branches there is more time to interact and consult with customers.
“That is the way we want to be able to transform the business and add value during that customer visit. That is the way that we want to be able to transform the business so that we are better able to service customers,” Archer said.
“When I talk about multiple transactions; our internet banking platform allows for bill payments, it allows customers to transfer funds from Scotiabank to other Banks within The Bahamas, it also allows other banks in The Bahamas to transfer to our customers online so all of this would be done online and this helps to improve the customer experience so the customer does not have to visit the branch to conduct a transaction.”