He closed his eyes and shook his head, but when he opened his eyes, he felt that he still was not seeing right. Yes, the doctor who had just seen him moments ago had a stethoscope dangling around his neck, but what were the tellers doing with stethoscopes dangling around their neck? Was he seeing right or was he in dreamland — the onlyacknowledged medium where weird things happen?
Now, not sure about his sanity, he asked the customer in front of him, if she was seeing what he was seeing. She too said that she was wondering why the cashiers were wearing stethoscopes, but unlike Mr Drinkwater who had just stepped out of a doctor’s office, she had come from her office, and was not as surprised. She told him: “I will find out what is going on at the counter.”
However, Branch Manager at Scotia Bank on Fort Street, Mrs Pamela Herbert-Daniel has a vantage view. The bank has a special and visually innovative promotion, dubbed‘ Get a free mortgage check-up’, which promises to take dollars off clients’ mortgages. The promise is that the check-up would only take minutes, and bank tellers have been attired like doctors.
“Our programme is about getting a free mortgage check-up and making a switch,” said Mrs Herbert-Daniel on being asked what was going on. “What we have done is to provide stethoscopes to the tellers, our frontline people, as conversation starters. By having a prop at the counter, which is the stethoscope, the customers are likely to ask questions.”
That certainly worked because when it was Mr Drinkwater’s turn in front of the teller, the first thing he asked was why she was wearing a stethoscope. Ordinarily he would first swipe his Scotia Card Visa debit card and then explain to the teller what his requirements were. After she explained, he told her that he had a mortgage at Scotia Bank and would love to have its state of ‘health’ checked.
“Just like a patient would go to a doctor for a physical/medical check-up to ensure that all is well or to seek advice to improve one’s health, we are saying, get a mortgage check-up for the same reasons,” said the Branch Manager. “This is the time for you to get that mortgage check-up and it is free.”
She explained that by talking to one of the bank’s sales officers, a client would stand the chance to improve their borrowing power. People who have mortgages be it with Scotia Bank or other banks usually do not know how much they can do with it, yet they can use its equity to apply for another loan, to buy for example a piece of land, or even a car, and the bank would not hold the land or the car as the mortgage would secure the additional loan.
“There are advantages for you to come and talk to us about the mortgage check-up,”said Mrs Herbert-Daniel. “With this mortgage check-up, a customer can increase their cash flow, which can be used for a vacation or any other purposes.”
According to the Branch Manager, sometimes customers have mortgages with different banks but they do not understand what they can do with the mortgage, such as an equity take out. The mortgage check-up will give them the benefit of paying less interest, and they can improve their cash flow. “The objective as it is for the customer is a win-win for everyone,” she said.
The promotion is running at the other Scotia Bank branches at Bird Rock in St. Kitts and Charlestown in Nevis. Assistant Manager, Service and Support, Mr Ralph Henry reported that the promotion has taken the customers by storm. They are ecstatic and excited about this innovative sales philosophy at Scotia Bank.
“It is something they have never seen before,” said Mr Henry. “They find it strange for bankers to have stethoscopes. Bankers are known to have ledgers and these different things and not a stethoscope. At Scotia Bank, gone are the days of campaigns. We are not about campaigns we are about sales philosophy, promoting good, free financial advice to our customers.”
What Mr Drinkwater failed to tell his doctor, he told a bemused bank teller: “I had promised my wife a cruise vacation, but when time came I realised we did not have enough money. Last night she nagged me, but lovingly, so much so that I did not have enough sleep and I woke up with this neck pain. I should have started with the bank for this free check-up and I would not have gone to see the doctor.”
When he left Scotia Bank on Fort Street, instead of walking up to Central Street where he had intended to visit the TDC Downtown Plaza to buy the medicine prescribed by his doctor, Mr Drinkwater walked on to Liverpool Row and headed to Kantours, the cruise vacation specialists. Instead of experiencing neck pain, he was now experiencing a slightly faster heartbeat which did not require a doctor’s diagnosis — he knew what was wrong, if not right, with his heart.