Thu | Nov 15, 2018

Scotiabank to lock down express branches after two-year experiment

Published:Wednesday | December 13, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Scotia Centre, corporate headquarters of Scotiabank Jamaica.

Scotiabank Jamaica is shuttering all Express banking locations, which were piloted in Kingston and would have been expanded nationally had the two-year experiment succeeded.

The four Scotiabank Express branches, which were mostly tagged to retail businesses, will cease operating as of January 9, 2018. It comes as Scotiabank is touting growth of its electronic platforms.

The notice of closure itself advises bank customers that they can utilise Scotia Online and the bank's mobile app to for free to pay bills, transfer money to others, top up mobile phones, check account activity and buy foreign exchange, or otherwise utilise its ATM and branch networks for transactions.

"The Express locations were initially launched as a pilot to offer access to basic banking transactions.

The customer traffic at the locations did not grow to expected levels and, as a result, the project is being discontinued," Scotiabank said through its communications unit.

But:"Since the Express locations were opened, however, there has been a significant increase in online and ATM usage, with almost 90 per cent of customers now utilising these convenient options."

Scotiabank said that in the past year, digital transactions have surpassed in-branch transactions, while online banking continues to increase.


Wi-fi access


"In addition, to further facilitate online transactions, Scotiabank now offers Wi-Fi access in all branches across the island," the bank said.

Scotia operates Express outlets at Loshusan Supermarket at Barbican Centre, Premier Centre at Constant Spring Road; Super Shopper's Fair Supermarket off Washington Boulevard; and MegaMart Wholesale Club at Upper Waterloo Road. The first full service teller kiosk opened in December 2015 at MegaMart. The Express outlets facilitated balance enquiries, withdrawals, deposits, mortgage and credit card payments of up to $50,000 for cash transactions and $250,000 for cheque deposits.

Scotia Group Jamaica is Jamaica's second-largest banking network with assets of $490 billion. Last week, the bank reported record profit of J$12.4 billion, up from J$11.6 billion in October 2016.

However, Scotia failed to grow its loan book, which remained flat at $166 billion.

The record profits were the last deliverable of Jacqueline Sharp, who exited as president and CEO of Scotia Group Jamaica on October 31 of this year and was replaced by her deputy David Noel.

The Express banking network was one of the initiatives attempted during Sharp's four-year tenure to drive organic growth at the bank.