SME loans on the rise at Scotiabank

BY AVIA COLLINDER Business reporter collindera@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, March 17, 2017

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Jacqueline Sharp, president and CEO of Scotia Group, in highlighting the performance of the group during her presentation at the Annual General Meeting on March 10, pointed to a 23 per cent growth in loans to the small business or SME sector.


The annual meeting was held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.


Sharp used the opportunity to highlight the launch of a new programme for SMEs, including loan rates as low as 9.99 per cent, as well as a special promotion that offers three months free to new sign-ups for the Business Internet Banking service.


Scotia Group ended its first quarter with a 13 per cent year-over-year increase in net income to $2.2 billion for the three-month period ended January 31, 2017.


Sharp said the SME initiatives underscore Scotiabank’s commitment to this sector and to Jamaica’s economic growth.


Highlighting other group achievements, she noted that the loan portfolio grew in 2016 by $11.1 billion, including a 20 per cent increase in mortgages, and a 10 per cent increase in the credit card portfolio.


Sharp also referred to the achievements of CrediScotia, whose loan portfolio and net income grew by 76 per cent and 143 per cent respectively; along with the 23 per cent increase in SME loans.


Assets under management in Mutual Funds and Unit Trust Funds at Scotia Investments grew by 17.3 per cent to just under $50 billion; and the Scotia Premium US Dollar Indexed Fund (SPUIF), launched in the first quarter of 2016, closed the year with a net asset value of $2.19 billion, exceeding the target by 177 per cent.


The president and CEO said that as the bank continues to forge ahead with its digital strategy, it is creating a world of more opportunities for clients with alternate channels, including the secure Scotia Online banking platform and the Scotia Mobile App.


"The enhancement of these platforms we have done over the last year continues to be well received by our customers, and today 87 per cent of our transactions are done electronically," she stated.


She pointed out that in the last year, initiatives launched included the recently introduced Mobile Top-Up feature that allows customers to buy phone credit from ABMs, online and mobile; and the implementation of "right time payments", which will see customer payments to credit cards being updated in 15 minutes.


Another development is the roll-out of the ‘chip and pin’ cards, which will provide greater protection against card fraud in the future. Free Wi-Fi will also be rolled out in branches across the network to facilitate the use of online and mobile banking platforms.


Reference was also made to some pioneering features, including the recently introduced online sales capability that allows customers to sign up for pre-approved cards at the click of a button from their computers.

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