FRIDAY 1st November, 2019, was the day of the official takeover of Scotiabank’s operations in Saint Lucia by Republic Financial Holding Limited (RFHL). Customers of the former Scotiabank were welcomed by Republic Bank when the doors of the institution were opened at 8 o’clock that day. The first hundred customers of the day were served with breakfast as part of their welcome by the management of Republic Bank.
According to Derwin M. Howell, Executive Director at Republic Bank Limited, the bank was closed as a Scotiabank branch just the night before. During the night the bank underwent a major cosmetic transformation in which colours were changed from red to blue, and signs and posters replaced. In place of where the old Scotiabank sign once laid on the outside of the building now lays the new Republic Bank sign. Howell reported that the changes from Scotiabank to Republic Bank had run smoothly. “We’re very glad to hear from the customers this morning that the change has been seamless,” he remarked. “There have been no issues, no problems. If customers didn’t see the changes in colours it would have been seamless to them,” he further stated.
This takeover of Scotiabank by Republic Financial Holding Limited took place in six other territories in the Caribbean region. The staff members of the former Scotiabank in Saint Lucia were all retained by the new Republic Bank. In regards to the retention of the former Scotiabank staff, Howell remarked, “We have retained all the staff, which is a very important aspect of this transition. It’s very important that the customers see the same faces that they are accustomed to; these are the faces that have grown this bank to where it is, and these are the faces that Republic is depending on to take the bank to new heights.”
The representatives of Republic Bank reassured customers that although the name of the bank has changed, the processes and fee structures will remain unchanged. Republic Bank has also notified customers that the services to which they have been accustomed will continue to be available to them with greater emphasis on youth development, environmental sustainability, employee engagement and social responsibility.
Howell said that he expects to see a greater focus on customer satisfaction resulting from this transition. To this, he added, “We expect to see an even greater focus on winning business and adding value for our customers.” Howell announced that Michelle Palmer, who will be coming in from Trinidad and Tobago, is the new Managing Director for Republic Bank (EC) Ltd., which is the company that manages the entire Eastern Caribbean franchise for Republic Bank on behalf of RFHL. He also announced that seasoned bankers such as Vernon Gordon Julien, Country Manager of Republic Bank Saint Lucia, will guide the transition across the region from the former Scotiabank to Republic Bank.
Gordon Julien echoed the sentiments of the Executive Director. He emphasised, “One of the things that we’re proud of is that we’ve maintained all the staff. So it’s the same faces, the same tellers, the same loans officers, the same service officers, and they are the ones that have the relationship with the customers, and I think customers will be happy to know that.” He stated further, “The expectation going forward is that we’ll continue to deliver the same high level of service, and we will improve on that level of service to all our customers.” In closing, Julien said that Republic Bank was excited to be a part of the Saint Lucian climate.