Sun | Jun 7, 2020

Septimus Blake | NCB working overtime to iron out glitches

Published:Tuesday | August 20, 2019 | 12:00 AM
Septimus Blake

As the new CEO of National Commercial Bank Jamaica Limited, I didn’t want our first communication to be under these circumstances, but I know that an explanation is long overdue. Ideally, I would want us to meet at a time when we were providing you with world-class banking services. While it doesn’t appear that way right now, it’s still a huge priority for us, and we remain committed to delivering on this promise to you.

I understand that your experience over the past months has fallen well below what you deserve from us, and we are working to fix this. Unfortunately, it is taking much longer than we anticipated to restore the stability of our systems following the upgrade. We fully recognise the magnitude of the frustration and challenges this has posed for you, and we acknowledge that apologies and regrets are simply not enough.

You deserve answers – answers about why this happened, about what we’re doing, about when this will be fixed. Most important, you deserve to know how we will ensure that this will never happen again.

In May, we embarked on a complex but very necessary system upgrade to address many issues you previously faced as users of our banking services. Our aim was to make our systems more user-friendly and lessen the amount of downtime we had with them. The intention was to provide a truly phenomenal experience for you, but our execution did not go exactly as planned.

We ended up taking much longer than the six weeks that we originally said we needed to complete this upgrade. We made several changes to a lot of systems at once. We also made a big leap from Version 7 of an application to Version 10 in an effort to offer the latest available to our customers. We had insufficient internal resources to deal with the post-implementation, and we did not sufficiently prepare or train our customers to work with the new system.

This has been a very painful lesson for us, and in hindsight, there are many things we would change about our approach. While we cannot undo the inconveniences we have already caused you, we are committed to righting our wrongs by further increasing on-the-ground technical and customer care resources to support the resolution of all issues.


We will continue to compensate customers for charges incurred as a result of the instability on our system, including late payment, cheque encashment, and ABM fees for NCB customers. We will also increase the transparency and consistency of our communication regarding the primary issues that you may face with the aim to provide resolution timelines and alternative solutions, where possible.

Shortly, we will begin weekly updates via email and via

You have my personal assurance that we will do everything to resume normal operations in the shortest possible time and ensure that future upgrades do not result in severe and prolonged disruption for you. To ensure this, we are conducting a thorough debriefing to ensure that we understand all the contributing factors that resulted in this extended disruption. We will also ensure future upgrades are undertaken more frequently and with more robust testing, greater preparation of our support teams and customers, and better timing.

I cannot thank you enough for your patience as we work to get past these difficult times. I look forward to the day we look back at this upgrade and agree that the improvements were worth it.


Septimus ‘Bob’ Blake is CEO of NCB Jamaica. Email feedback to