Scotiabank recently launched its first local digital branch at Price Plaza, Chaguanas.
The bank, which has 24 branches and three sales centres locally, is also poised to introduce intelligent banking machines (IBM) in the region.
Scotiabank’s group head international banking and digital transformation Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Deschamps said the Canadian-based bank is investing CAD$3 billion (TT$16.35 billion) every year as it develops both the technology and the human resource element.
“It’s a huge amount of investment that is deployed across the bank to build a very strong digital value position, and it will also bring all of these new, simpler ways to interact with the bank," he said.
“The most important mandate is to build a strong customer culture in the bank, and that requires to invest in technology, in analytics and to build a mobile solutions path, web solutions, that makes life easier for our customers. The objectives are to make everything available in digital solutions so that the customers who don’t want to come to a branch, they can do the same, in a safe way, and that is the objective of our data transformation. It’s all about customer experience, it’s all about operational efficiency because it allows us to connect our operations in the Caribbean, Latin America, Canada in a much, much closer way,” Deschamps said.
Speaking to reporters after the official launch, he said the bank has also developed "digital factories" that will pursue, design and deliver digital innovations and solutions for the its customers worldwide. The digital factories are located in Canada, Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru.
“The digital factories is a global strategy because we want to benefit our customers across the world. And to operate this strategy we have to build digital factories and eco-systems where engineers are building new software. And to do that they work together in team with business people from the banks specially new capabilities and skills like engineering, design, product, agile, analytics, and digital marketing,” he said.
However, he noted that the personnel working at the digital factories, who came from technology giants such as Facebook and Google, were not engaged in the day-to-day activities of the bank.
He said the second innovation would be the introduction of intelligent deposit machines, which would increase the functionality of the bank’s ABM network.
Customers would be able to put cash directly into the machine and their accounts will be updated in real time.
“It will give you immediate credit on that cash. It will also be accepting cheque deposits through the machine without an envelope, and if that cheque is drawn in on us you will get immediate credit on that cheque, as well so no more waiting five days to get your cash,” he said.
Asked about security concerns, he said as envelopes would no longer be used, the IBM would scan the cash or the cheque and give customers a photo receipt of the transaction.
“So no more putting an empty envelope, so that enhanced level of security will give the customer the confidence to use that machine,” he said.
Senior vice president, Caribbean South and East Stephen Bagnarol said the plan is to roll it out throughout the Caribbean in phases.
“We have about 800 machines throughout the region and we will be implementing between 50-100 per year as we go forward. First in high traffic areas and these are full service machines,” he said. The machines are expected to arrive in Trinidad later this year.
Asked whether more digital branches would be opened locally, Bagnarol said construction on its second branch had already begun at its Scotia Centre branch and was expected to be completed in a few months.
Meanwhile, senior vice president and region head international banking Brendan King said credit card sales had jumped 20 per cent over the past few months since it began selling the cards online.
“Through their online banking system, customers would get an offer for a credit card, you click in and you will go through the process. We just started three months ago and already 20 per cent of all of our credit cards are being sold digitally throughout the country,” he said.
Deschamps said the drive to go digital could be compared to the airline industry, where long lines were a norm prior to the introduction of self-checking services.