RBC Bank closing four branches - 60 workers to be affected

Published: Wednesday | January 30, 2013 Comments 0
Roger Cogle, market head of personal banking at RBC Bank. - File
Roger Cogle, market head of personal banking at RBC Bank. - File

Sabrina Gordon, Business Reporter

RBC Royal Bank, in a move which it says is aimed at positioning its business in Jamaica for long-term growth and profitability, will be closing four of its branches considered to be low performing.

The posts of 60 workers will be affected.

The closure of the branches - Cross Roads, St Andrew; Linstead and Spanish Town, St Catherine, and Santa Cruz, St Elizabeth - is expected to take place over the next three to four months.

"We continue to hold discussions with the Ministry of Finance to determine the date of closure of the branches," said Roger Cogle, market head of personal banking.

RBC said obtaining permission to close the branches is a regulatory requirement.

"As part of our review of the market, we looked closely at our footprint and at the performance of our branches. Based on this thorough analysis, these branches were identified as our lowest performing," he said.

The closure of the branches will reduce to 13 the number of RBC Royal Bank branches operating across the island. They are supported by 44 automated banking machines.

However, Cogle, in emailed responses to Wednesday Business queries, said the closure of the branches must be seen within the context of the bank's overall strategy to reposition its business in Jamaica for long-term growth, profitability and sustainability.

Rebranded

RBC Royal Bank, formerly RBTT, which last year rebranded its operation, is Jamaica's third-largest commercial bank.

According to Bank of Jamaica data, its assets totalled $54 billion at the end of September 2012, with a capital base of $9 billion.

At the end of September 2012, RBC Royal Bank had a deposit base of $40 billion, a 10.75 per cent improvement over the previous year's $35.7 billion.

Within the last year, RBC Royal Bank has been undergoing a rebranding exercise and reshaping of its business strategy and is now moving to implement various initiatives to drive business.

Cogle said the bank continued to review the remaining branch operations and planned to implement systems and processes geared towards bringing the cost of doing business down and increase revenue-generation capabilities.

"We have embarked upon a series of actions as a result of our strategy review that includes the introduction of a mobile specialist sales force focused on motor car loans, mortgages and group employee banking, giving expert advice and providing speed to delivery on our turnaround time," he said.

The bank has also been actively trying to bring new products and services to the market, its latest offering being the National Housing Trust mortgage package which gives applicants a competitive fixed- or variable-rate mortgage towards the purchase of a residential property.

Further, Cogle said RBC has done a comprehensive review and recalibration of all the functional units to improve overall efficiency and strategic alignment to the Caribbean banking head office in Trinidad and Tobago.

"So the teams are positioned to support the overall business strategy for Jamaica," he said.

Meanwhile, RBC said it will work with the affected workers to ensure they are treated fairly.

"The employees at these branches that will be displaced as a result of the closures, we remain committed to working with them throughout this period of transition and will honour all existing contractual terms, conditions and collective agreements," Cogle assured.

sabrina.gordon@gleanerjm.com

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