Scotia readies service for customers to open bank accounts online

THE Scotiabank Group, through a raft of additional digital products which are expected to be rolled out during this year, has said that plans are being finalised to allow customers to electronically open bank accounts with the financial institution.

“Some of the additional features that will come in 2021 will be to allow our customers to open bank accounts online – in the first phase for existing customers who want to open another account and in the second phase for new customers who want to transact business with the bank and establish deposit accounts,” said Audrey Tugwell Henry, president and CEO of the Scotiabank Group during the company’s annual general meeting held last Friday.

“Both programmes are in train and we are working for production in 2021,” she stated.

Notwithstanding the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, Tugwell Henry stated said that statistics over the last five year have indicated there was a significant shift to the use of digital channels for banking services when compared to the traditional mediums. The bank highlighted that in 2016 online transactions, up to last year, increased from 17 to 27 per cent while in-branch transactions reduced from 19 per cent to 7 per cent. Automated teller machine (ATM) usage however marginally decreased by 4 per cent, down from 40 per cent in 2016, and point-of-sale (POS) transactions went up 6 per cent when compared to previous years.

“While our ABMs continue to be the most used channel, there is still a clear shift from ABMs to POS as well as online and mobile banking,” she added, noting that customers have also found these services more convenient due to additional services offered on these platforms

The group, which has already made significant investments to equip and train staff along with the installation of the requisite systems and facilities needed for the bank’s digital agenda, added that its digital push remains a key part of the entity’s strategic priority this financial year. With the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) expecting to roll out the use of digital currency by next year, Scotia said that is prepared to work with the central bank in this shift as the country moves to become a digital society.

“In 2021 our digital transformation programme will expand beyond transaction processing – we will focus on optimising digital as a key enabler to reach our customers to provide them with financial solutions that will make it easier for them to do business with us. We will advance sales of our products via digital as well as providing more opportunities for them to access financial products and services, including loans and credit card offers.

“We have been building on our digital strategy and our customers have embraced it,” Tugwell Henry said.

Last year the bank made profits of over $9 billion despite the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, thus witnessing growth across almost all of its business segments – a performance which it has maintained into the three months or first-quarter period ended January when earnings, despite a marginal decline of 2 per cent, amounted to $1.75 billion.