CIBC to remove many in-person services; focusing on ‘alternative banking channels’

CIBC FirstCaribbean in The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands will no longer process transactions at a teller that can be carried out through “alternative banking channels” beginning January 3, the bank said in a memo seen by Guardian Business.

The memo said those alternative channels include instant tellers and smart automated banking machines (ABM), night depositories, online banking and the bank’s mobile app.

The bank added that after January 3  it will not facilitate cash and check deposits, check cashing, corporate and small business deposits, withdrawals under the $3,000 ABM daily limit, credit card payments, bill payments, domestic and international transfers, transfers between CIBC FirstCaribbean accounts and transfers to other CIBC FirstCaribbean clients, and third party transfers.

It added that while opening a personal or sole proprietorship account will also not be done in a branch, those wanting to open a joint account or those who are politically exposed will have to visit a branch.

“This change supports the bank’s vision of delivering a modern digital banking experience, which is personalized, easy and convenient,” the memo said.

“It also supports our frontline teams by freeing up capacity to focus on providing additional value-added advice and service to our clients.”

The bank released a statement explaining that the memo was leaked before it could provide public communication on the changes to operations.

“It is unfortunate that an internal briefing document that was meant to prepare our team for the cessation of payments over the counter has been circulated in the public domain, prior to the bank circulating communications to the public on the matter,” CIBC FirstCaribbean said.

“We encourage our clients who need additional support to perform transactions on our digital platforms, to reach out to our branch teams, who are there to provide that assistance. Our digital banking officers will be on hand to show clients how to use the ABM to make deposits, transfers or to get cash during the transition.

“The fact is that, since the days of the pandemic, when no one was allowed in our branches for transactions of any kind, we have been preparing our clients for this change. It is also a fact that at this stage a very small percentage of our clients are still coming into the branches to make payments. We have continued to observe a noticeable decline in clients performing over-the-counter transactions.

“With advancements in our digital services, there has been an increasingly greater number of clients who wish to execute their transactions in a safe, easy, and convenient manner through our alternative channels.”

The statement said more than 85 percent of the bank’s clients now perform much of their transactions online.

Other commercial banks in the country have also increasingly diminished interactions with tellers, opting to have customers carry out most of their transactions electronically.

Some banks have even completely closed branches on the Family Islands and New Providence, citing a decline in demand for face-to-face interactions.

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Chester Robards

Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian. Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism

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