Tue | Jan 23, 2018

H Wayne Powell rewarded for a life of banking

Published:Friday | September 9, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Hugh Wayne Powell at the Scotia Centre, Port Royal Street.
Career banker Hugh Wayne Powell is still excited about his job.

To give more than 45 years to a profession is great; to do it for the one company is superb.

Career banker H Wayne Powell continues to devote his entire working life to Scotiabank, but it was never his intention to go into the financial sector. He was supposed to do electrical engineering.

"I left high school to go to England to study, but I came into the bank as a holiday job, and I just loved it," he said. "And I went back to my mother and said, 'I don't think I'm going to this thing'." And so began a storied career in banking.

"When I started as a teller, I was interacting with the customers. It was something new for me, interacting at that level," he said. "And then it (banking) had to do with numbers and finances, and I thought that was an important part of any career development. It was exciting."

That excitement remains, and soon, Powell will be conferred with the Order of Distinction in the rank of Officer for outstanding contribution to the banking sector.

"When I heard, I said, 'for what?'" he laughed. "Because you're just doing things to make sure that you get better at what you do every day, and two, to make sure that the organisation you represent remains the best. When I think of it, I think I've made a contribution, but it's not something that I really expected."

Various sectors

Powell hails from Bull Savannah in St Elizabeth and attended Manchester High School, not even finishing sixth form before joining Scotiabank. He started as a teller at the Christiana branch and got his first taste of leadership when he headed the Morant Bay branch soon after. Since then, Powell has worked in various sectors of the bank's operations from retail to marketing. Currently, he is vice-president of Scotiabank International and head of retail delivery.

"I'm in charge of the retail bank for the 18 countries in the English-speaking Caribbean, so whatever products and services fall under retail, I am responsible for making sure that product and development is done properly to satisfy the customers," he said.

"I am required to make sure that all the marketing and sales are done across the 18 countries. We did so well in Jamaica ... the brass decided they wanted me to help transform that culture throughout the region." This involves almost daily teleconferencing, numerous meetings, and plenty of interaction.

"A lot of times, the old laptop goes home," he laughed. But he still enjoys it, noting that many persons in their 70s and older are still making significant contributions.

"I never complain because I'm better off than so many and I contribute to so many people," he said. "God has been good. Sometimes when people come back to you and tell you the contribution you've made to their development, it's inspirational." Still in love with the job, he does plan to retire one day.

"Yes, man. The golf course is kinda waiting on me," he smiled.