Sixty years ago Scotiabank Trinidad and Tobago opened its first branch on Frederick Street, Port of Spain, welcoming local cloth magnate Jimmy Aboud as its first customer.
Since then, the bank has grown to over 30 branches strong across Trinidad and Tobago to become one of the “big four” commercial banking leaders in the country.
To celebrate the achievement, several top executives including managing director Anya Schnoor, on Monday visited the current Frederick Street branch, located a few buildings up from the original, to greet customers and reminisce with Aboud about the first years of the bank.
Aboud recalled that he had come to Scotia on a recommendation after his previous bank declined to extend his overdraft. Scotia forwarded him $10,000 and he’s been with them ever since.
And even though most people find it still a hassle to go the bank, lucky customers who came into the bank that day were treated with refreshments, cake, and the opportunity to spin a wheel and win a prize.
Schnoor said the bank has had a rewarding time in Trinidad and Tobago, from contributing over $18 million to social causes through its foundation, to keeping on the cutting edge of competitiveness, especially with technology.
“You have to be able to keep up with customers’ wants and the technology. The traditional branch situation is not what people want— they want access at home, online and on the phone,” she said. She noted that transactions done through the branch is more expensive for the bank (Can$4 per transaction) over one online (Can$0.08).
Nevertheless, in 60 years, the bank has evolved, improving its technology infrastructure and launching new products, including a suite of TT$ mutual funds last year, as well as branching out into insurance.