Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 13th 2017 Contents APRIL 13 • 2017 guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
NEWS | BG5
Bank branches out
espite a downturn in the economy where
some companies are laying off workers and
businesses are operating in tough condi-
tions, CICB FirstCaribbean bank is open-
ing a new financial centre on April 24 in
Anthony Seeraj, managing director of the local operations
of CIBC FirstCaribbean, believes the bank has performed
solidly in T&T and also the country’s economy will improve
sooner rather than later.
“This is in view of what is happening in the local economy
and the lack of confidence and the hesitancy to want to ex-
pand. We had a good performance at the end of our financial
year 2016. Our loan portfolio has also been increasing as well.
Economics is a cycle, you reach the bottom before you start
to go up. So this is an opportune time to position the bank
to take advantage of the upswings that will come. We have
heard about natural gas and oil production increasing so that
will lead to increased inflows into the country,” he told the
Business Guardian last week via a tele-conference call at the
bank’s head office at Long Circular Road in Port-of-Spain.
Seeraj was joined by two other bank officials. They were
Trevor Torzsas, managing director, customer relationship
management & strategy, and the chairman of the local board,
Mark St Hill.
CIBC—the parent bank—is a Canadian-based bank that
operates in 17 countries throughout the Caribbean providing
banking services through 3,000 employees in 80 branches
They are one of the largest regionally-listed financial ser-
vices institutions in the English and Dutch-speaking Car-
ibbean, with more than US$11 billion in assets and market
capitalisation of US$1.8 billion.
The bank also has an office in Hong Kong.
Torzsas said they have been in the T&T for 12 years.
“We are very excited to have a full service offering in T&T
and this is one of our key growth markets for the future.
According to Bloomberg, CIBC is the fourth strongest bank
in the world.”
Seeraj said for last 12 years, the bank has had one branch
at Long Circular, St James.
“We have a staff compliment of 53 at the Long Circular
branch and we serve the length and breadth of country. We
are now expanding our footprint and entering Chaguanas.
The new financial centre will be 6,055 square feet in size.”
He said this new branch will be off the Munroe Road fly-
over, “so there will be no traffic to get on or off the bank’s
“It is easy access. For a lot of people getting into Chaguanas
is a nightmare. The bank is strategically located there. If you
look at the level of commercial activity on Munroe Road, it
is high and there is a ready market for that branch.”
Despite the macroeconomic environment, he said the bank
had made the best decision to expand at this time.
“We have quite a lot of clients who are situated in Central
and South so it is easy for them to get to the bank. Also, the
alternative channels that we are providing are ideal now that
you are hearing that the country is very vociferous about
banking fees and charges. Once clients use the alternate chan-
nels we have, there will be no fees nor charges. We have not
adjusted our fees since 2012 as we have been the ‘new kid on
the block’ and the bank has to keep things moderate,” he said.
Seeraj said the quality of their service and the price of their
financial products separate them from competitors in the
banking industry in T&T.
“It is more than a banker and client relationship. We act as
advisers and ensure people make the right decisions.
“Whether they want a retirement plan or start saving to buy
a first house, they can get advice on how to do that,” he said.
Leading in technology
Torzsas said the bank’s tag line is “banking that fits your
life” and so the technology platforms they have created are
meant to give easy access to customers.
“People do not want to come into a branch to do their
banking. They are happy to come in for financial advice and
that is why the bank is opening a financial centre rather than
a branch in Chaguanas. People want to pay their bills using
their mobile. They want to service their credit cards on their
mobile app. So it is important that we offer best-in-class
mobile applications as one of the ways our customers can
bank,” he said.
Torzsas said they have approximately 30,000 users of their
mobile app in the region; an app that was launched less than
one year ago. “T&T is a tech savvy country. We expect the
uptake on this app to be very, very strong.”
Seeraj added that the bank’s technology makes it one of
the world’s safest.
“Our bank is the only one in the region to employ the chip
and tap technology. This is the latest technology for security.
We need to ensure our client’s assets are safe. In our cards
there is a microprocessor chip and that is a unique identi-
fier that only that card has. So a customer’s card cannot be
replicated,” he said.
T&T’s strategic importance
St Hill, the managing director of the bank’s regional retail
and business arm and also director of the local board, said
T&T remains “strategically” important to the bank’s inter-
“We will bring a difference to the market with this new
financial centre. At the end of the day, we will bring strong
relationship management, supported by strong technology.”
He pointed out differences between T&T’s market and
the rest of the region.
“When we entered the T&T market, we were not doing
mass retail banking. In some of our territories where we have
been in for over 100 years, we have a range of banking which
is traditional banking, mixed with the corporate and busi-
ness. We are building our base in T&T through individual
relationships,” St Hill said.
According to St Hill, the bank entered T&T’s market 12
years ago, with an emphasis on the corporate clientele.
“We have a myriad of advice according to who you are as an
individual or who you are as a company,” said Seeraj, adding,
“we also offer corporate banking services so small businesses
owners also come to them to have their needs attended to.”
According to St Hill, “What we are now building is the
individual space. We are also building business banking. So
we have the individual. Then, in terms of the business bank-
ing it would be the size of sales, turn over, the businesses,
in many cases, are family owned. The next tier would be
He said customers in other banks may be just “a number”
but for FirstCaribbean, everything is relationship driven.
“For some banks, it is just a customer standing in a line
but that is not what this bank is bringing. For every client,
we will bring that relationship. The client is at the centre
of what we do.”
CIBC FirstCaribbean opens
financial centre in Chaguanas
MARK ST HILL
Continued on Page 7
Links Archive April 12th 2017 April 14th 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page