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Scotia has new approach

Scotia has new approach

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by Jerry George

The Sales Manager looked up from the documents on the desk in front of him. As he focused on the couple across the desk from him, a thin smile paused briefly on his lips and almost simultaneously, a frown creased his forehead as his eyes narrowed to slits.

Fixing his gaze on the gentleman he said, ‘Mr. and Mrs. John after looking at your current financial situation, I am afraid I have to inform you that you do not qualify for a home loan at this time as you do not have sufficient funds for a down payment.'{{more}}

‘In most other banks the conversation would end there,’ says branch manager of the local Bank of Nova Scotia, Bruce Sali. “Instead,” he said, “my sales people have been trained to not simply decline the loan, but to use the opportunity to begin a relationship with such a couple or client by helping them to develop a plan to help them accumulate the required down payment in the shortest possible time.”

Back at the Sales Manager’s desk he assured the couple, “don’t despair, I am here to help you, let’s look at what you have to do to be able to get this loan.”

Manager Sali’s philosophy is simple, “people want a home, not a mortgage, and it is our responsibility to help them achieve that goal.”

“At Scotia Bank,” Sali said, “we recognize that the best way to help a customer is to give them the ability to match their cash flow to their needs.”

In the illustration above the sales manager not only used the information at his disposal to work out a solution that would allow the couple to have sufficient down payment funds in the shortest possible time based on the cash they had available, he also used the forecasting ability of the bank’s recently introduced International Banking Platform to project their financial needs for the next 20 years.

This new banking platform says Sali, is the current state of development of a project which began some 20 years ago.

It was decided that the company would be better served if all the Sales people concentrated on sales, the Administrative persons on administration and Services staff on services.

It was decided that if the bank was going to be able to build a meaningful relationship with its customers and help them effectively, “we had to take all the information we got and compile it in such a way that we would be able to talk to the branches in all 52 countries in which we operate.”

Now, all customer information on file – except confidential information – is available at any Scotia branch around the world and could be accessed by customers using their banking card and their appropriate personal identification number (PIN).

“Speed is the greatest benefit of the new system to both customer and bankers,” Sali shared. “This system saves us at least ten hours per application, and rather than a teller spending hours after the bank closes to balance, they now are balanced in 20 minutes with a comprehensive report of all activities which took place in the entire bank during the day being deposited on the printer in his office.”

The system also makes it easier for the banks to track suspicious transactions. “With a manual system,” he said, a person intending to break the money laundering laws can make several trips to the bank during the day and make several deposits without the tellers necessarily taking notice. This is no longer possible with the IBP system. The system will flag those multiple deposits and inform the relevant officer much more quickly than a manual system could. Once detected, the bank has a statutory obligation to report it to the Financial Intelligence Unit.

“It’s fast, it’s clean, it’s accurate,” Sali said with a glint of pride in his eyes, “and takes the routine out of our work.”

When sitting in Sali’s office, I couldn’t help noticing the frequent ‘ding’, ‘ding,’ sound coming from the notebook computer on his desk. Before my curiosity got the better of me, Sali explained another of the progressive features of the system.

“The new system has automatic transactional controls,” the manager said, “each time you hear the ‘ding’, ‘ding’, it’s because a transaction has gotten as far as the person dealing with it has authority to process it. So if that person does not have the authority to post, or verify for example, the system automatically passes the transaction to the next available officer with authority who is logged in at that time.

“We can then provide authorization on the spot,” he said, “it saves the person running around trying to find an authorizing officer who may have just gone into the bathroom.”

Another fundamental of the IBP that would excite customers is that a customer can’t leave the bank without a transaction being balanced and closed.

The biggest change in the entire system is the new level of security given to customers. With the use of their banking card and PIN all information about the customer is now available to the sales officer dealing with that customer. Rather than just using their bank cards at the ATM, customers now use them with their teller hastening the processing of their transactions.

Workers at the bank have all had to take seven weeks of intense training via the company’s website which were supported by role play sessions. Training will be a regular part of persons working with the system.

With a system driven by the latest technology at their disposal, Scotia bank can now focus on really building relationships

with persons accessing its services.

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