Two branches to close as Scotia aligns organisational structure

Two branches to close as Scotia aligns organisational structure

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

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Scotiabank Jamaica yesterday announced that it will be closing its Black River and Old Harbour branches as part of several changes to its branch network which it said will better align its organisational structure with current revenues as well as the shift in customer preferences.

The operations of the Black River and Old Harbour branches will be consolidated into the Santa Cruz and May Pen branches, respectively, Scotia said, adding that the Black River branch is scheduled for closure in February 2021 and the Old Harbour location in April 2021.

Additionally, Scotiabank said another six branches — Christiana, Falmouth, Portmore, Port Antonio, Port Maria, and St Ann's Bay — will be converted to its digital operating model by January 2021.

Scotia Group Jamaica President and CEO David Noel described the decision to close the two branches as difficult. However, he said the “changes are necessary for the long-term success of the organisation”.

“We have begun the consultation process with the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union, which represents a number of impacted employees. In order to preserve employment, wherever possible, we will seek to find alternative roles for affected staff,” a release from the bank quoted Noel.

The bank said that changes are in line with “the significant shifts in customer behaviour over the past few years” which have accelerated since the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“Branch traffic in some locations have been reduced by as much as 50 per cent as customers continue to utilise digital banking platforms. As at September 2020, branch transactions represented less than six per cent of total transactions while online and mobile transactions accounted for over 30 per cent; ABM [automated banking machines] and point of sale transactions account for the remaining 64 per cent,” Scotia said.

Explaining the move to add more digital branches, Noel added: “Our digital banking model has been working very well. Customers still have the option to use our ABMs for their cash needs and our branch staff have more capacity to assist customers needing more complex banking services. Digital branches also have dedicated staff to assist interested customers to learn how to use our ABMs and digital banking channels. All branches already have Wi-Fi and we have also begun the roll-out of tablets to help facilitate customers. This is increasingly important as we try to maintain a high level of service and manage branch traffic amidst the current physical distancing protocols.”

The bank said it would be contacting affected customers and stakeholders in the coming months to ensure the transition is as seamless as possible. Following the closures, the bank will still have 29 branches across the island as well as 277 ABMs.

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