Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Scotia Group reports growth in all business lines

Published:Friday | March 10, 2017 | 3:00 AMSteven Jackson
Jacqueline Sharp, president and CEO of Scotia Group Jamaica.

Scotia Group Jamaica (SGJ) argued that it continues to make banking services faster and at lower costs at the roll out of its first quarter financial report, a claim that comes amid controversy over a fee that the bank eventually rolled back.

Scotia Group reported net profit of $2.2 billion for the quarter ending January in its financial results released Wednesday.

Profit was up 12 per cent year on year, as loans and transaction volumes grew across the group.

Within the quarter, the bank netted $2.25 billion in fees and commissions, up 28 per cent from the prior year.

"As we continue to execute our strategic priority of creating greater convenience for customers at lower costs, we have enhanced our service delivery platform by implementing a number of digital upgrades," said President & CEO Jacqueline Sharp in a statement accompanying the financials.

The bank has been on a steady drive to encourage a shift of routine transactions away from branches to its online platform and ATMs. It's latest upgrades includes updating customers' credit card available balance within 15 minutes and mobile credit top-up, Sharp said.

Currently four-fifths of SGJ transactions occur outside of the traditional branch queues.

Part of the bank's encouragement towards electronic platforms involves offering mostly free online transactions, while charging customers a fee to do the same business in-branch.

"These continuous enhancements have been well received by our customers who continue to gravitate towards utilising these digital channels, increasing the level of transactions done electronically to 83 per cent of total transactions to date," Sharp said.

Complaints about fees

Customers of the bank recently complained about paying a fee of $385 for exchanging $5,000 notes for smaller denominations. SGJ took steps to remove that bank charge arguing that it was incorrectly applied to small retail customers. Instead it stated that it would apply to persons who want to exchange $20,000 or more. In December, the bank also rolled back the cost to encash cheques drawn on other banks.

The group made $10.1 billion in revenues over three-months ending January 2017, up 11 per cent year on year.

Sharp said the numbers demonstrate "solid performance" with growth in all business lines.

Scotiabank is planning a new loan campaign under which small and micro enterprises will be offered rates of 9.99 per cent.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com