NCB re­sponds to Dr Shane Alexis’ con­cerns

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION -

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.

BRIAN BOOTHE

Se­nior Gen­eral Man­ager Cor­po­rate, Com­mer­cial and Con­sumer Bank­ing Di­vi­sion Na­tional Com­mer­cial Bank Ja­maica Lim­ited

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