Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 26th 2015 Contents A18
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, January 26, 2015
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BRIDGETOWN---CIBC FirstCaribbean International
Bank is developing and expanding its retail, wealth
and business banking services through innovations
and investment in infrastructure, processes and
In a wide-ranging interview recently, Mark St Hill,
the bank s managing director, Retail, Business and
International Banking spoke about key improvements
the bank was instituting as well as their benefits to
the bank s customers.
St Hill said CIBC FirstCaribbean s business banking
segment was recording encouraging growth with
the increase in entrepreneurial activity around the
region. He added that the bank had listened to what
its business banking clients had been saying about
challenges they have been experiencing with accessing
capital and had analysed the types of barriers that
had cropped up over the years to these customers
qualifying for financing. These include the level of
record keeping by some entrepreneurs and the quality
of business plans presented.
"Coming out of this we created a number of prod-
ucts and services such as the Bizline Visa Business
Credit Card and the Merchant Services Overdraft
and we ve developed some tools and provided assis-
tance in helping our clients present their applications
for financing---in other words, we have positioned
ourselves as being more of a financial advisor for
our clients," St Hill explained.
In order to achieve this, the bank s business banking
officers were exposed to a specially tailored business
banking training module created by the Canadian
"We ve up-skilled ourselves to (better) interpret
the information received from clients when they
complete the business planning guide we recently
created---and by extension we are able to advise them
better," he said.
With regard to Platinum Banking, St. Hill said
that this offering, which was rebranded and re-
launched, was also experiencing continued growth.
"It s a relationship management offer for the busy
professionals or executives and has been working
tremendously well. In certain markets---including
Barbados, The Cayman Islands and the Bahamas---
it s driving over 50 per cent of our sales. It s also
growing in Antigua and other markets and we re
about to launch it in Curacao, a market with a large
number of professionals."
Facilitating clients' needs for credit
In the area of retail banking, the CIBC First-
Caribbean senior executive explained that through
its regional network of mortgage and loan centres,
specialised staff were facilitating their clients need
"We know that the way we grow our businesses,
increase our wealth, educate our families and improve
our lifestyles is through access to credit. To meet
this need we ve developed an approach that is rela-
tionship-centred so that we re here for our clients
when they need us," St. Hill explained.
He added that a year after their roll out, the
response to the mortgage and loan centres was "very
good" in key locations---especially Barbados and
CIBC expands retail banking services
Antigua and in the financial year 2014 the
bank had helped nearly 7,000 retail banking
clients to "achieve their dreams" through
access to credit to purchase land, build, buy
or refurbish homes, educate themselves or
their children, enjoy a family vacation, pur-
chase a car, or grow their businesses.
With regard to the processes and tech-
nology supporting the bank s ability to facil-
itate its clients credit needs, St Hill noted
that during the year a new risk management
credit system was put in place.
"We re starting to see improved results.
One of the key benefits of this platform is
that it will allow us to create more tailored
solutions for our clients."
With a significant number of the bank s
employees providing retail and business
banking services, St Hill noted that they
are obviously key to the bank s commitment
to deepen relationships with, and add value
to, its clients.
"We ve seen good success and have sur-
passed year-on-year expectations in terms
of convenience products---bank accounts,
deposit accounts, internet banking sign ups,
our e-channels, and our credit cards---
because our employees are talking to our
clients. Other initiatives to help that include
special programmes like our new Talk to
Me Tuesdays where we ve brought our staff
from behind the counters into our lobbies
and they would rub shoulders directly with
our clients to talk with them and understand
their needs. I applaud and thank our staff."
In the future, CIBC FirstCaribbean wants
to see an increase in the number of staff
become involved in direct sales and reach
out proactively to clients. Based on its con-
tinuous improvements and expansion of
retail banking services, the bank is confident
it will meet the evolving needs of current
and potential clients.
"We re one of the more competitive banks
when it comes to pricing and focusing on
the major channels through which our
clients needs are met. We re emphasising
the centrality of developing relationships
with clients who use our key products and
services," St Hill said.
Further infrastructural expansion is taking
place across the region. The bank has been
looking at new locations in the region. In
Jamaica a new branch model, designed to
increase the number of clients, will be piloted
in Santa Cruz, St Elizabeth, this year before
being rolled out to other locations. A new
branch will also be commissioned in Mon-
tego Bay, also in Jamaica.
Future of banking---meeting
needs of sophisticated client
Emphasising the bank s commitment and
continued investment in the region, St Hill
described the long-term vision.
"The future of banking in the Caribbean
is meeting the needs of an ever-more-
sophisticated client through the channels
by which they access our services. The
majority of this new client demographic
does not come into our banking halls on a
regular basis, so the future involves creating
an improved relationship management
model through innovations such as our
business banking and platinum banking
services, mortgage and loan centres, and
"At Warrens in Barbados for example, a
number of our clients don t go past the
ABMs into the banking hall---they transact
all their business right there at the ABM or
online, so we re designing our branches to
be responsive to the needs of our clients."
St Hill, who has more than 25 years of
experience with CIBC FirstCaribbean, con-
cluded: "The continuous investment we are
making is preparing us for the future of
banking, so while we ve invested in new
infrastructure we ve also de-commissioned
old infrastructure because we have to take
a commercial view of how we position our-
selves. The vision is to have a model that
is sustainable, and that will continue to
please our clients and shareholders---that s
where we re going."
Mark St Hill, CIBC's managing director,
Retail, Business and International Banking.
"The future of banking in the Caribbean is meeting
the needs of an ever-more-sophisticated client
through the channels by which they access our
services. The majority of this new client
demographic does not come into our banking halls
on a regular basis, so the future involves creating an
improved relationship management model through
innovations such as our business banking and
platinum banking services, mortgage and loan
centres, and call centres." --- Mark St Hill
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