More than 85 percent of Royal Bank of Canada’s (RBC) Bahamas transactions are now done outside of the bank’s physical locations, the bank’s Head of Caribbean Banking Robert Johnston said yesterday, adding that the bank continues to become more efficient through digitization and centralization.
Johnston added that The Central Bank of The Bahamas’ (CBOB) move to digitize the Bahamian dollar with Project Sand Dollar, is in line with where RBC wants to take its own products and services.
“It is absolutely consistent with what we see our own processes and products moving towards,” he said. “We’re part of the pilot program and we’re very hopeful that it meets all the success criteria that they (CBOB) have.”
Johnston said that Bahamians will likely continue to assimilate to the digital processes offered by commercial banks and now by other financial services providers, while over-the-counter services, he contend, are here to stay.
“We’ll be there forever providing over-the-counter service, but it’s typically now for problem solving more complex requirements that people have, solutions that can’t be fulfilled digitally,” said Johnston.
“I see that further move to digitization as the future. We’ll see Bahamians begin to shift from how they bank historically, to take advantage of some of the new capabilities that are available to them.”
He explained that in countries like Aruba, writing checks has become a thing of the past.
“Checks are gone. So the government has forced the Aruba businesses to further complete their journey to digitization,” said Johnston. “There is still cash, but no more checks in Aruba.”
Most people carry out their banking online at automated teller machines, on mobile applications, or through call centers.
He added that RBC remains committed to The Bahamas, after the Canadian-based bank announced in December that it had entered into agreements to sell all of its banking operations in the Eastern Caribbean to local banks on the representative islands.
“We’re committed to The Bahamas’ future,” said Johnston.
“It continues to be a robust economy. There is a lot of wealth created here, and we have a responsibility to provide advice and solutions to Bahamians, businesses, the government and people who are choosing to move here. It’s still a very attractive destination.”