Scotiabank to Close Two of Five V.I. Branches, Laying Off 30 Employees

Canadian-based Scotiabank will shutter two of its five branches across the territory this fall in an effort to reflect the company’s "business footprint," according to the bank’s regional vice president, Lawrence Aqui.

Scotiabank will close its sole St. John branch in Cruz Bay, on the first floor of The Marketplace, on Sept. 19 and cease operations at its Havensight branch on Oct. 4, resulting in layoffs of about 30 employees, according to Aqui.

"In a nutshell, what we are doing is matching the footprint of our operations in the Virgin Islands to the business climate in the Virgin Islands," Aqui said.

"When I look at business being generated in the Virgin Islands, it just makes economic sense to go in this direction," he said.

With so many customers now taking advantage of advances in digital banking, the demand for physical banks has dwindled as well, Aqui added. “Another part of this is that as we move towards electronic banking, there is less and less need for the bricks and mortar."

Scotiabank, the third largest bank in Canada, has a presence in more than 55 countries across the globe. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, the bank will continue to operate its three busiest branches, at Red Hook and Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas and at Sunny Isle on St. Croix.

Aqui said the bank is still committed to providing services to the territory. "We fully intend to continue doing business and that’s a commitment by Scotiabank to our customers," he said.

"Our intention is to offer a full range of banking services” from the remaining “key locations."

St. John and Havensight customers will have their accounts automatically transferred to a different branch, Aqui explained.

"The customer will not have to do anything; it will be automatically done for them," said the Scotiabank vice president. "There will be no change to their checks or account numbers. They won’t have to do a thing."

Scotiabank intends to maintain ATMs on St. John as well, but Aqui couldn’t promise they would remain on the first floor of The Marketplace.

"We fully expect to keep our ATMs on St. John but exactly where they’re going to be, I don’t know," said Aqui. "We’re trying to keep them in The Marketplace, but we’ll have to negotiate a new lease so we’re not certain."

Scotiabank opened its first St. John branch in a trailer in Cruz Bay across from Quiet Mon Pub in the current Across the Street Bar location in 1996. The company eventually moved to its current, highly visible location on the first floor of The Marketplace.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email