NCB responds to Dr Shane Alexis’ concerns
THE EDITOR, Madam:
I WRITE in reference to the letter ‘Life’s a bank in Annotto Bay’ by Dr Shane Alexis, published in The Gleaner on May 28. The decision to close our Annotto Bay branch was not one we took lightly, nor was it a move to abandon our valued customers in Annotto Bay and surrounding communities. On the contrary, this was done as part of a broader plan to continue serving our customers in the parish of St Mary well into the future, but with even more channels to do their banking with ease and convenience.
While the announcement was made during a difficult time, these plans were initiated well before the COVID-19 outbreak, so we will not be able to facilitate an extension at this time. A review of the transaction data shows that over 90 per cent of the approximately 1,500 transactions handled monthly by our Annotto Bay location may be done on the alternative channels – ABMs, online banking and the NCB mobile app. We saw it fit, therefore, to close this specific branch, and redirect our resources to optimising our Port Maria branch and the other channels through which we serve our customers in St Mary.
We understand that this change will require some adjustment, as some customers are accustomed to going in-branch to do their banking. However, we are not packing up and leaving our customers; they will continue to have access to our banking services at our dropbox (which we are currently installing) and ABMs, which are available 24/7. Furthermore, we will be deploying an additional ABM in a central location in the town for ease of access and use.
For those transactions that must be done in-branch, our customers still have access to the nearby Port Maria branch, where our senior citizens continue to receive priority service during opening hours. We are also currently in talks with the relevant stakeholders about upgrading this branch, and ensuring that it has all the modern amenities for our customers to enjoy very soon.
Our online banking and mobile app platforms are also available for customers to conduct their transactions. We note the observation about the limited Internet access and low computer literacy in the area. To this end, we are having discussions with the telecoms providers to give customers zero-rated access to our online banking platforms and mobile app, and we are looking at a customer education programme specifically for the region to help our customers there to make the transition. Where there is no access at all, customers can avail of our iABMs.
We sincerely appreciate Dr Alexis’ feedback. We wish to assure him and the citizens of Annotto Bay that we are still doing business in Annotto Bay and St Mary overall. While our interactions with our customers will be a bit different going forward, we are positive that we will still be able to serve our customers satisfactorily.
Senior General Manager Corporate, Commercial and Consumer Banking Division National Commercial Bank Jamaica Limited