CIBC FirstCaribbean customers settled in well at Warrens 6 months after closure of Fontabelle branch

Almost six months after the closure of its Fontabelle branch on April 25, customers of CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank have settled in well into doing business at the bank’s flagship Warrens branch just opposite its headquarters.

Admitting that when he heard that the Fontabelle branch was closing he thought it was not the best move, Norman Howard, 86, of Howard’s Supermarket said that he now finds the Warrens branch “more convenient“. Mr. Howard, who continues to work daily in his supermarket, spoke of the prompt service there which allowed his wife or employees to conduct transactions quickly.

The bank's Warrens branch boasts multiple ABMs as part of express banking for customer convenience.

The bank’s Warrens branch boasts multiple ABMs as part of express banking for customer convenience.

Rodney Drakes of Chrystal Enterprises Inc. which operates Campus Mart at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill campus has had a business relationship with CIBC FirstCaribbean for more than 10 years. He too says the transition was a convenient and smooth one. “It was not a problem because we are familiar and on a first-name basis with some of the staff who’ve been absorbed into Warrens. The relationship, therefore, was not interrupted.”

Mr. Drakes added that he liked the “security aspects” of the Warrens branch. “I like the visibility and the clear view you have from inside the branch so you’re more comfortable as a customer now.” He went on to praise the service at the branch saying that customer service representatives and other “front line” staff were efficient. With regard to the Warrens branch’s physical environment, the businessman said it was spacious, clean and comfortable. “It’s much better than Fontabelle in terms of physical layout and environment.

The Fontabelle branch's final customer is given a warm send-off on April 25 by staff led by branch manager, Carolyn Cozier (left).

The Fontabelle branch’s final customer is given a warm send-off on April 25 by staff led by branch manager, Carolyn Cozier (left).

Michelle Whitelaw, Director, Retail Banking Channels, said that most of the customers had settled in well at Warrens. “Some of them wish that the old branch was still open but the majority have settled. One of their concerns was around the ABM moving from the branch because it was heavily utilised. Recognising this we searched for and found another location in the same area. However the existing landlords decided that we could maintain the ABM presence. This was greatly welcomed by our clients as well as the bank.

Customers speak of the prompt service at CIBC FirstCaribbean's flagship branch at Warrens.

Customers speak of the prompt service at CIBC FirstCaribbean’s flagship branch at Warrens.

Ms. Whitelaw thanked customers for their patience and loyalty. “For a lot of them there was sentimental value as some of them had banked with the Fontabelle branch from its inception. It is never an easy thing when we make these types of decisions but this was done with their interests at heart.

Mark St. Hill the bank’s Managing Director, Retail, Business and International Banking spoke of the longer-term vision for the bank’s branch network across the region. “Our branches are to become, in essence, more sales offices – that’s the vision of CIBC FirstCaribbean. We want to make our branches more accessible for our own clients, so we’re creating a banking structure and banking halls to serve their needs.”

Mr. St. Hill added that the bank was preparing for the future of banking. “We’ve invested in new infrastructure but we’ve also de-commissioned old infrastructure. Across the region we’ve decommissioned five branches this year because of the changing needs of our clients and to prepare ourselves to better meet their needs.”

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