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2005-05-11 07:50:45

FirstCaribbean Invests U.S. $18M In Upgrading Branches

The new-look banking halls have been receiving favourable comment from FirstCaribbean's customers across the region.

Bridgetown, Barbados FirstCaribbean is continuing its programme of investment to ensure it reaches its goal of becoming bank of first choice for customers across the region. In addition to the US $50M investment converting all its branches to a single technology platform, and introducing the most advanced internet banking service in the Caribbean, 18 of the bank's 80 branches across the region have been renovated, upgraded, and in some cases expanded.

The goal of the branch renovation programme is to enhance the level of service to customers, by providing both employees and customers with a brighter, more spacious, and more-customer friendly environment in which to do business.

The bank is approaching its renovation programme on a phased basis, with 18 branches completed in the first phase but longer term plans to renovate the entire branch network over time.

FirstCaribbean's customers in The Turks & Caicos Islands, Barbados, The Bahamas, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, St Vincent and the Grenadines, The Cayman Islands, the Netherlands Antilles and St. Lucia are now enjoying banking in the "new look" branches.

"FirstCaribbean has created a truly professional look combined with a welcoming atmosphere and our customer feedback has been very positive. With our branches looking like this, customers know we are committed to our policy of CustomerFirst!"

Julian Murillo, Executive Director, Retail Banking said: "The branch refurbishment project has been a great success, achieved with the hard work, commitment and dedication of everyone involved the employees at all the affected branches, and the project team, and the many individuals in each territory who supported the team in so many ways. Our employees are more comfortable, our customers love the fresh look and our competitors envy us even more."

As part of the upgrade programme FirstCaribbean recently opened new relocated branches at Sandy Port in The Bahamas, Plaza Venezia in The Cayman Islands, and in St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles.

The Plaza Venezia branch replaces the Industrial Park facility, which was severely damaged during the passage of Hurricane Ivan last year. CEO, Charles Pink, noted: "Our goal is to ensure that we always respond to our customers' needs by providing them with state-of-the-art facilities in which to do their business.

As well as this U.S. $18M investment in our branches we've recently invested approximately U.S. $14 million in our Internet and telephone banking services, for those customers who prefer to do their banking electronically. But we haven't forgotten those who wish to come into the Banking Hall. Over the next few years we intend to convert all 80 of our branches to the new FirstCaribbean look."

The new-look banking halls have been receiving favourable comment from FirstCaribbean's customers across the region. The facilities now offer a number of enhancements, including:

* A Branch Ambassador station, the branch ambassador is there to welcome and help customers

* An increased number of Cashiers and Customer Service Officers

* Dedicated Corporate Cashiers

* More spacious Banking Hall areas

* Dedicated customer meeting rooms, providing greater privacy

* Dedicated Premier banking areas

* Modern and friendly branch environments.

The renovations and construction, and other enhancements to premises and facilities over the past three years have been completed at a cost of approximately US $18 million, bringing major benefits to local suppliers and construction companies.

Juan Corral, Chief Operating Officer, praised the support of the Bank's construction partners in the Caribbean saying "we truly believe the quality of our new branch interiors to be world class. This is a tribute to all the excellent supplier partners we have across the Caribbean".

Continuing the theme of investment in branches, FirstCaribbean is also now looking to open new branches, with locations in Belize, Jamaica and The Bahamas being targeted.

In summarising Charles Pink, Chief Executive Officer said: "The message here is that FirstCaribbean is investing for the benefit of its customers. US $50M on new systems, US $18M on branch refurbishment and US $14M on Internet and Telephone Banking represent a massive investment in Customer Service, and that is what we are about, innovation in support of our "CustomerFirst" promise.

From: The Nassau Guardian

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