Ashford W. Meikle, Staff Reporter
Chairman of the National Commercial Bank (NCB), Michael Lee Chin (left), laughs at a comment made by Group Managing Director Patrick Hylton at the official opening of the Duke Street branch in downtown Kingston on Wednesday. - WINSTON SILL/FREELANCE PHOTOGRAPHER
THE NATIONAL Commercial Bank's (NCB) newly-renovated Duke Street branch underscores the bank's commitment to downtown Kingston, as it seeks to entrench its business in the area. That's the word from general manager for the retail banking division, Courtney Campbell.
"We plan to continue to experience the growth that we are experiencing downtown because we believe tha
downtown Kingston is poised for growth and will continue to do well."
Mr. Campbell was speaking to the Financial Gleaner at the official opening of the branch on Wednesday. Describing the branch as a "a better banking experience," he said that NCB plans to aggressively market its products to its existing clientele, as well as targeting new customers in downtown Kingston.
"That's a big area of focus for us. We want to spend a lot of time speaking with the business customers - and personal ones as well. We believe that NCB - has a competitive advantage with our loans and Internet banking and we want to drive that [message] home."
The branch is a result of the merger between the former King Street and Duke and Barry Streets branches which took place on September 12 this year. Located at the corner of Duke and Barry Streets, it covers some 24,000 square feet of office space.
According to NCB executives it is designed to maximise space as well as provide customers access to the full suite of products offered by the NCB group.
For example, the 10,000 square feet ground floor features the main banking hall with some 17 teller stations along with a self-service centre featuring Internet banking and banking by telephone as well as ABMs and express deposits.
On this floor three lobby managers work the area as they ensure the smooth flow of banking operations.
Upstairs, the mezzanine level - covering about 6,000 square feet - has offices for personal banking officers as well as representatives from NCB Capital Markets and NCB Insurance Company Limited.
There is also an expanded parking lot for customers made possible through the purchase of a lot which borders the bank.
Concluding that "perhaps this is the biggest branch merger in banking in Jamaica," Mr. Campbell praised the customers and staff of the bank as it went through the logistics of the merger.
Group managing director of NCB, Patrick Hylton, reflected that the decision to amalgamate the largest and most profitable branches was not arrived at lightly.
"This merger took place after very, very careful consideration. Our primary focus is our ability to serve customers. We think there are a number of advantages associated with this location ? in particular we feel that the size of the banking hall is much larger than the one that would have existed at King Street to ensure a easier flow of customers."
The Duke Street branch - with 75 full time staff members - is headed by newly appointed branch manager, Carolyn Schwab.