Scotiabank to close 2 branches, lay off more than 30 employees

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ST. THOMAS - Scotiabank is closing two of its five branches in the territory come fall.

The Canada-based international bank is closing its Cruz Bay branch on St. John on Sept. 19, and the Havensight branch on St. Thomas on Oct. 4, according to Lawrence Aqui, regional vice president of the bank.

The bank is laying off 30 or more employees from all levels as a result, according to Aqui.

"The banking business has contracted across the board in the territory," Aqui said.

The recession hit the territory hardest in 2008, Aqui said, and no relief has been in sight since. The bank also was hurt by the closure of HOVENSA in 2012, Aqui said.

As a result, the bank decided to execute a six-month study analyzing the usage of the five branches in the territory. The study found that the Charlotte Amalie and Red Hook branches on St. Thomas and the Sunny Isle branch on St. Croix are the most frequented branches within the territory.

Bank executives decided that the Cruz Bay branch will be consolidated with the Red Hook branch, and Havensight will be consolidated with the Charlotte Amalie branch.

"Scotiabank is very committed to the territory," Aqui said. "Our intention is to remain in the V.I."

The bank will maintain the ATM locations that it currently has in place in the St. John and Havensight locations, Aqui said.

It also plans on expanding its ATM services on St. Thomas, with three new ATMs expected on St. Thomas in the near future, he said.

Aqui said he did not want to disclose yet where the new ATMs would be.

The downsizing is not an indication of any trouble within the company, Aqui said, but is an adjustment given current economic times.

"Scotiabank is one of the strongest branches in the world," Aqui said.

The closure of the St. John and Havensight branches will not affect customer accounts, Aqui said.

- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email

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