Mon | Jan 24, 2022

NCB downgrades branches, cuts jobs

Published:Wednesday | January 12, 2022 | 12:10 AM

National Commercial Bank Jamaica, NCB, is in the throes of a reorganisation exercise that has so far seen the downgrade of two branches, the separation of one manager, the reassignment of another and an undisclosed number of job cuts. More jobs are...

National Commercial Bank Jamaica, NCB, is in the throes of a reorganisation exercise that has so far seen the downgrade of two branches, the separation of one manager, the reassignment of another and an undisclosed number of job cuts.

More jobs are also expected to be eliminated and more branches rationalised under the ongoing programme.

Sheree Martin, NCB’s assistant general manager with responsibility for marketing and communications, says two branches have been converted to agencies, one at UWI Mona in Kingston and the other at the Bay West complex in Montego Bay. A banking agency is a step down from a full service branch, offering a smaller range of services and generally staffed by only a few persons.

Martin says NCB has decided to rationalise its service delivery, by concentrating on areas that it see as driving efficiency.

“Essentially, we have instituted a new branch model where there are six hubs across the country and the branches report into these hubs or financial centres,” Martin said, but declined to elaborate on where the six hubs will be centred.

NCB presently has 32 branch locations, one in each parish capital, and multiple branches in all parishes except Trelawny, Hanover and St Thomas. Martin says the proximity of locations is a prime consideration. In the case of the UWI Mona branch, Martin said its less than 10 minutes away from the Matilda’s Corner branch in Liguanea; while the Bay West Branch is close to the branch at Fairview, a fast-growing commercial centre at Catherine Hall.

BRANCH STRUCTURE

“If you think of a full branch structure, you have to question why you’d need two branches close to each other,” said Martin.

The downgrade of the two branches was implemented in December but the actual decision and subsequent process of engaging team members on the new arrangements began in October 2021, said Martin, adding that only UWI Mona was affected by job cuts. The manager was separated but the rest of the was staff retained. Meanwhile, at Bay West, the manager was transferred to another location before the branch was downgraded.

Martin confirmed that more branch downgrades and job separations are coming, but declined details.

“We don’t want to lose muscle. Our people are important, that is why we want to keep as many as we can. Displacement is not the goal; it is just to see how well we can structure for efficient service delivery,” she said.

NCB is Jamaica’s leading bank and the flagship company of the NCB Financial Group, a $1.9 trillion financial conglomerate, whose annual profit in 2021 amounted to $20 billion. Salaries for the conglomerate’s workforce topped $44 billion last year, inclusive of its large insurance operations.

neville.graham@gleanerjm.com