Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 3rd 2014 Contents APRIL 2014 • WEEK ONE www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COVER STORY | BG5
He recalls that the conversation in 2006 and 2007 was of
RBTT expanding into Central America. But he said no one in
Central America wanted a T&T share and RBTT did not have
the cash to pay US$200 million for assets there, which were
being eyed by other competitors.
Looking back at the five-plus years that RBC has been in
charge, Sookoo is reflective, asking himself where did the bank
Contributing to the financial performance was the fact that
RBC kept investing in the Caribbean, even through the declining
"We literally did a lot of investing in 2009 and 2010 and 2011,
thinking that the Caribbean would kind of hockey stick back
to economic health. That didn t happen. We spent US$30 million
on Chancery Lane to get it up to RBC standards. We floated
the Roytrin NAV, which cost money. We built the operations
centre, and the contacts centre."
Plus, the bank has implemented a unified technology platform,
which has reduced what used to be nine platforms down to
The bank has implemented many changes in T&T, starting
with the establishment of an client contact centre in Chaguanas,
the reduction in interaction between staff and customers and
the elimination of VIP areas.
Some of these changes were received with bewilderment and
Reflecting on the negative responses expressed by many cus-
tomers at changes at the T&T bank, Sookoo said RBC did every-
thing by the textbook. It brought in consultants; it did pilot
studies of customer experiences at the Chaguanas and St Augus-
Sookoo said: "At the end of the day, we didn t deal with
change management properly," which led some clients to say
the bank had changed, it had become Canadian and was not
dealing with its customers in the way it had previously.
This caused the bank to adjust some of the changes that had
been put in place to be more reflective of customer feedback.
Asked whether the the Canadian culture dominates throughout
RBC at this point, Sookoo thinks about the answer before saying
"I think what we did is we put in certain practices and tech-
niques that were supposed to make us better while retaining
our local culture and strengths. We over-rotated to saying the
techniques would help us and we forgot about what was the
sweet sauce that made RBTT different."
Asked about the amount of autonomy that the Caribbean
bank has before large loans have to be referred to Toronto,
Sookoo said his chief risk officer in Trinidad has a limit of US$25
million and it could be three times that amount if there is a
capital market tie-in.
"Autonomy-wise, up to $2 million I can approve CAPEX. We
can hire up to the level of country manager and managing
directors without going to Toronto,"
Asked if that meant he needed to refer to Toronto for everything
above $2 million, Sookoo said: "Because they have a process,
because we re talking about capital. We call it a project approval
request. And you have to have sign off from the CFO and myself."
In between the complaints, Sookoo describes what he calls
"some great wins," that the bank has been able to achieve.
"We re the only bank that now has 24 certified financial plan-
ners across the region. There are 11 in T&T. So it s not just
people who can advise you through a financial plan, so we did
"We have auto finance specialists that sit at the dealers; we
didn t have that before.
"We put in mortgage specialists for residential mortgages and
we are doing 45 mortgages a month in T&T.
"So there are some wins in there, but the noise in the market
is that we ve changed."
Sookoo admits the RBC brand has been dented in T&T.
"If I look at what our clients have been saying to us and how
they have been responding to some of the changes we have
implemented, they have said they are not satisfied.
And that has not played very well in the media, especially
when you consider that we are restructuring our organisation.
So from that perspective, it has been tarnished and I would be
a fool to say to you it is all "honky dory".
"And we do not ignore our clients. It is important that we
listen to our clients and our employees as we seek to rebuild
our reputation in T&T and deepen our relationship with our
clients and our employees and strengthen our business for the
Continued from Page 4
RBC at the corner of Park and
Henry Streets, Port-of-Spain.
PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
Links Archive April 2nd 2014 April 4th 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page