Our Customers
2003 Public Accountability Statement
Message to Stakeholders white divider Communities white divider Employee Involvement white divider Community Development white divider Environment white divider Customers white divider Small Business white divider Employee Satisfaction white divider Corporate Information white divider Appendices
PAS page 39 image Our core purpose is to be the best at helping customers become financially better off by providing relevant solutions to their unique needs. It's a responsibility we take very seriously – developing innovative products and services that reflect our customers' needs, enhancing our delivery network to provide increased capabilities and convenience, and providing our employees with the knowledge and skills to deliver the highest standard of service.

Our Customers

We are extremely proud that, for the fourth year in a row, Scotiabank achieved the highest rating for customer service excellence among Canada's five major banks, according to an independent national survey by the research firm Synovate. In the 2003 survey, a higher proportion of Scotiabank customers considered the overall quality of service they receive to be excellent, compared to customers of the other major banks.

In the following pages, we show how Scotiabank is delivering on its commitment to customers: by being sensitive to and accommodating their diverse needs and preferences; by being highly responsive to their concerns, and by taking the time to clearly communicate essential financial information.

Serving our diverse communities [ top ]

As Canada's most international bank, we want to ensure that our workforce reflects the diversity of the customers we serve. Scotiabank actively recruits multilingual employees, and we incorporate additional language options in our most in-demand services, so we can assist customers in their preferred language. To serve unique regional needs, many of our domestic banking branches create local initiatives to better serve their specific communities. Here is a sampling of our services:

  • Our TeleScotia call centres can serve callers in English, French, Mandarin and Cantonese.
  • To help branches build stronger links in distinct communities, Scotiabank's Local Area Marketing group develops Chinese-language customer service, product and marketing information. In 2003, with feedback from branches that serve large Asian populations, the group introduced online Chinese fact sheets about our eight most popular products and services, which Chinese-speaking personal banking officers can customize and print for their customers. The group is investigating expanding the service to include other in-demand languages in 2004.
  • Each year, Scotiabankers in branches serving the Portuguese community in Toronto contribute countless hours to support local events. This year, Scotiabank was a major sponsor of Portugal Week, as well as the 50th anniversary celebration of Portuguese pioneers coming to Canada. Branches also held various customer appreciation activities to commemorate the occasion.
  • ScotiaMcLeod Direct Investing (SMDI) offers Chinese services to serve the needs of Cantonese and Mandarin-speaking clients. SMDI's team of experienced investment representatives provide full trading support and client service through a dedicated toll-free telephone number. Online clients enjoy access to real-time Chinese news, research and commentary from Dow Jones & Co. and receive trading support with Chinese help text. SMDI's branch in Richmond, B.C. serves the Chinese-speaking investing community and regularly conducts seminars to educate customers.
  • Toronto-area Scotiabank employees participate in information programs on local multicultural television station OMNI TV, speaking about financial topics in their native languages. As well, employees of Caribbean, Asian and European backgrounds regularly hold seminars for small business owners, female entrepreneurs, seniors and youth at local branches, community centres and retirement homes.
  • In Scarborough, Ont., local branches have combined efforts to take part in events for groups such as the Greek, Sri Lankan, Chinese and South African communities. For example, for the past three years, employees at our Eastown and Markham & Ellesmere branches have conducted mortgage and investment seminars in the Tamil language.
  • Our Richmond, B.C., branch at No. Five Road & Bridgeport has partnered with the Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia to recruit prospective candidates for customer service roles. The branch has provided work experience to individuals from across Asia and the Middle East to better serve this multicultural community.

Access and accommodation [ top ]

Scotiabank maintains an official policy that all facilities, delivery channels and products must be accessible to persons with disabilities, and a cross-functional team ensures co-ordination of all initiatives to improve access across the Bank.

New Scotiabank branches meet the Canadian Standards Association's (CSA) accessibility guidelines. Most of our existing branches will be upgraded to meet the CSA standards over the next nine years.

To give disabled customers better access to the card reader, keypad, screen and transaction receipt door, we've implemented ABM enhancements at 99 per cent of our branches. For example, new ABM facades are lower and have more legroom Large high-resolution anti-glare colour screens and braille key caps have been installed, and all ABMs now provide longer lapse times between transaction steps to give customers more time to perform transactions without being rushed. These modifications comply with the CSA standards.

Scotiabank is introducing additional ABM features, such as grab bars to help customers position and support themselves, and we are working closely with a number of vendors to develop hardware and software solutions that are fully compliant with the CSA standards.

Scotiabank's general and marketing information is available upon customer request in alternate formats, including audiocassette, braille, large print or diskette, by calling 1-888-615-8991 or via www.scotiabank.com.

Access through electronic channels [ top ]

We provide our customers with easy access to their financial needs through numerous electronic channels that are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including Scotia OnLine, TeleScotia, wireless financial services, a growing ABM network and Interac® direct payment.

With a ScotiaCard®, customers can withdraw cash, get account balances or VISA* cash advances through a network of 35,000 Canadian ABMs and 750,000 locations in more than 130 countries. In addition, technology such as POS (point of sale) has allowed customers access to some banking functions through other financial and commercial institutions.

Scotiabank is a founding member of the Global ATM Alliance, which allows Scotiabank customers to withdraw cash from participating member ATMs without paying access fees. Scotiabank will waive the international ABM access fee and alliance members waive terminal usage fees for any withdrawals performed at over 24,000 member bank machines in Australia, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Scotia OnLine financial services provides integrated, secure Internet access to banking, brokerage and small business accounts, products and services across the Scotiabank Group through an easy, single sign-on.

Gómez Canada, a performance measurement service group, gave Scotiabank a number one rating - up from third place in 2002 and seventh in 2001 - for our best-in-industry website navigation and design.

Other innovations [ top ]

High levels of customer satisfaction with our alternate delivery channels demonstrate that we can effectively build customer loyalty by expanding and integrating the products we offer, improving ease of access, and adding new technology choices. Examples of other electronic service innovations:

  • Scotiabank.com has adopted a number of interactive features, including Ask Scotia, a search function which allows customers to ask a question in their own words and quickly receive answers and relevant links, and ScotiaOne™ Business Plan Writer, a new online tool to help small business owners develop business plans.
  • Scotiabank.com also offers online branch and ABM locator tools and a ScotiaMcLeod Investment Advisor Locator, to help customers quickly find the most convenient way to receive desired services.
  • Scotiabank was among the first to enable customers to bank over the phone using voice recognition technology.
  • ScotiaMcLeod Direct Investing (SMDI) offers Sounding Board - an innovative online service that provides self- managed investors with a personalized report that includes a framework for constructing their portfolios. SMDI is also the only bank-owned direct brokerage to provide industry-leading Recognia technical analysis research to its clients.
  • Shell Canada and Scotiabank announced that Scotiabank-branded ABMs will be installed in up to 500 Shell gasoline convenience stores across Cananada. This will expand Scotiabank's domestic ABM network by 20 per cent to more than 2,700 machines.

Branches [ top ]

Our customers have shown that they prefer to use a variety of delivery channels to conduct their personal banking - including our 964 retail branches - depending on the type of financial service they require. We recognize that our branch locations play an important role in developing excellent customer relationships, and we constantly review and improve our network to ensure it meets current customer needs. In 2003, we opened four branches and closed or consolidated 24 locations (see Appendix, page 56).

Basic banking [ top ]

Ensuring that all Canadians can access basic banking services is a priority at Scotiabank, and we provide clear training and guidelines to employees, and straightforward account information to customers, so that they can quickly and easily understand how to open an account and manage their banking needs.

  • A list of acceptable identification needed to open an account, and other helpful information, is available in our branches, over the phone and on our website.
  • Our account options provide customers with choices that suit their transaction and service preferences and offer the best possible value. Our Account Selector Reality Check® tool is a convenient way for customers to determine the right account and services and minimize their banking fees.
  • The Scotia Simple Switch® program is a free service that provides customers with a convenient, hassle-free way to transfer their day-to-day banking to Scotiabank from another Canadian financial institution.
  • In 2003, we redesigned our savings and chequing account statements. We listened to our customers and made our statements easier to read by reorganizing the information presented, introducing a running balance and date, and adding a summary of activity performed.

Meeting unique customer needs [ top ]

Scotiabank offers various specialized products and services designed for youth, students, seniors and Canadians of modest income. These include:

  • The Getting There Savings Program® for Youth is designed to help young people under age 19 learn banking basics. This no-fee plan offers up to 20 debit transactions per month and cash prizes to encourage young savers.
  • The Student Banking Advantage™ plan provides discounted rates on regular banking fees and other benefits for full-time students of Canadian universities, colleges or other recognized post-secondary institutions.
  • The Scotia Plus® program for seniors provides customers aged 59 or older a no-fee banking plan that includes up to 40 debit transactions per month, plus other free or discounted services.
  • Our Basic Banking account is a low-cost banking option for customers who have only a few transactions each month and prefer to bank with a teller.

Aboriginal banking [ top ]

Scotiabank was the first chartered bank in Canada to open an on-reserve branch, in Standoff, Alta., in 1971. We now operate four on-reserve branches, plus a network of Aboriginal banking centres.

To help the Bank build deeper relationships with the Aboriginal community, Scotiabank provides its branch managers with a 26-page Aboriginal Marketing and Resource Guide that provides a comprehensive working plan to serve Native Canadians better, including tips on hiring and retaining people from these communities.

Our Scotiabank Rama branch, near Orillia, Ont., has been involved in an innovative on-reserve housing project for several years by which members of the Chippewas of Mnjikaning First Nation can receive mortgages or home renovation loans - normally a difficult process, since band-owned reserve properties cannot easily be pledged as collateral. In 2003, we funded six mortgages valued at more than $402,000, with additional loans being processed for individuals who may not qualify for credit otherwise.

Providing financial information [ top ]

Serving our customers and the public well means providing timely, practical information that addresses issues facing all consumers. With the Bank's expertise on an array of economic, personal finance, security, wealth management and borrowing matters, we frequently share our knowledge through seminars, special events and educational programs. A few examples include:

  • For many years, Scotiabank has distributed fraud alert videos to educate seniors and community groups about the risk of telephone and marketing fraud. In fact, since 1996, the Scotiabank Fraud Awareness Program: ABCs of Fraud - a Canada-wide fraud education and prevention program for seniors, delivered in clubs, churches and recreation facilities has made more than 1,400 presentations to over 57,000 people. The program is even more important today, as Internet fraud and identity theft pose serious risks to seniors, who comprise the fastest-growing group of Internet users.
  • Scotiabank Group employees in Peterborough, Ont., developed an innovative way to educate seniors on important will and estate planning issues by sponsoring and helping to produce a 13-part television series on a local cable station called Your Estate Matters Too. From the comfort of their own homes, seniors can learn about issues ranging from succession planning for farms and businesses, to family law and disability benefits.
  • Today's students need information to help them finance their post-secondary education, so Scotiabank has become a sponsor of Studentawards.com, a free online scholarship search service. Not only does Scotiabank provide a special scholarship offer through the website, but we recently improved the student Reality Check® calculator on scotiabank.com to make it easier to receive information and apply online for banking, credit or insurance services.
  • Scotiabank employees from a Scarborough, Ont., branch teamed up with their local Commercial Banking colleagues to provide a financial education to young people in the East Metro Youth Service's Residential Treatment Program. As part in the organization's "life skills" training program, staff invited 12 teenagers to learn the basics of banking, borrowing and investing.
  • To help clients become better, more knowledgeable investors, ScotiaMcLeod Direct Investing provides online education from the Canadian Securities Institute - Canada's leader in investor education.
  • We are committed to ensuring we provide information in a straightforward way, whether it is basic consumer education or explaining our products and services in a clear, easy-to-understand manner. We produce a number of helpful newsletters such as Investment Matters, provided quarterly with investment statements, and ScotiaPlus for members of the ScotiaPlus® Program for Seniors.

Responding to customer concerns [ top ]

To effectively address small business and individual customer concerns or complaints, Scotiabank has a three-step internal process. Customers should first try to resolve the issue at their branch or call centre. If the problem cannot be successfully resolved, customers should contact the Office of the President. If they remain unsatisfied, they may contact the Scotiabank Office of the Ombudsman, which will launch a thorough, impartial investigation.

In 2003, the number of complaints directed to the Office of the President declined by 5 per cent overall, to 8,698, with an 18 per cent reduction in domestic branch service complaints. Following a survey of 1,545 customers who filed a concern with the Office of the President, 86 per cent were fully satisfied with the handling of their complaint. We are also proud that the office received 293 staff commendations, a 35 per cent increase from the previous year.

This multi-year trend reinforces the fact that, for the fourth year in a row, Scotiabank has been named the leader in customer service excellence among major Canadian banks in the annual Synovate customer survey (see page 39).

For information on the Scotiabank Office of the Ombudsman and its year in review, see the Scotiabank Ombudsman Annual Report at www.scotiabank.com. If a customer still feels that their concern has not been satisfactorily addressed by our internal process, they may contact the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI), an independent organization that investigates customer complaints against financial services providers. Also, the Centre for the Financial Services OmbudsNetwork (CFSON) helps customers uncertain about where or how to resolve a dispute with their financial service provider. More information can be obtained at www.obsi.ca, or by calling the CFSON toll-free at 1-866-538-3766.

Responding to customer feedback [ top ]

In addition to our efforts to remedy individual customer complaints, we continuously improve our products and services, delivery channels, communications and operational processes by incorporating customer feedback from many internal and third-party sources. For example:

  • Every year, we survey more than 100,000 randomly selected retail banking customers by telephone as part of "Through Your Customers' Eyes," Scotiabank's customer satisfaction and loyalty measurement program. Report cards are distributed to senior management and branches so they can take action on the survey results. Similar surveys provide regular feedback for commercial and small business customers, Scotia Private Client Group, ScotiaMcLeod and ScotiaMcLeod Direct Investing.
  • Scotiabank performs extensive customer research to design and enhance our products and services, including frequent focus groups, mystery shopping and surveys, and we analyze trends identified through customer complaints data.
  • Employees can contribute their ideas on ways to improve the customer experience through Team Voice, a toll-free phone and e-mail service by which they can anonymously (if desired) comment on issues that affect their ability to deliver excellent service.
  • Three times a year, we survey our domestic branches about the help they receive from internal support areas in meeting customers' needs. In 2003, the confidential Scotiabank Satisfaction Survey, which was distributed to 25,000 domestic employees and expanded to those in Jamaica, indicated very high satisfaction levels with the majority of our support areas that partner with our branches to provide excellent service to our customers..
  • We carefully monitor mystery shopping surveys conducted by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC). The FCAC reviews the banking industry's ability to meet legislative requirements in areas such as disclosing current interest rates and service fees, and providing information on low-fee accounts. We recognize that there is room for improvement, and we continuously incorporate new employee training and processes to address areas of weakness.
  • Scotiabank regularly invites and receives comprehensive input from members of the Consumers Council of Canada regarding the Bank's Public Accountability Statement and information disclosure to the public, and from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business on the calibre of our small business services.

Protecting electronic customer information [ top ]

The Scotiabank Group of Companies has a comprehensive information security program in place to protect the Bank's electronic information and databases, and its customers, from online fraud and computer viruses. We share our extensive expertise by publishing safe computer and Internet practices on our website, and our security team often works one-on-one with customers to help them avoid potential fraud. To help protect all consumers from online threats, a member of Scotiabank's Information Security & Control department also participates on a federal government advisory group to develop policy regarding information security for Canadians.

Preventing money laundering [ top ]

We have extensive policies and procedures to help fight money laundering, terrorist financing and other criminal activities that put the Bank and our customers at risk. Scotiabank identifies, investigates and reports suspicious transactions to the financial intelligence units that are in place in most jurisdictions around the world to aid in the apprehension of money launderers. Training programs have been established for staff from all parts of the Scotiabank Group to assist them in carrying out their reponsibilities with respect to prevention, detection and reporting. We continue to use leading-edge technology to support our staff in these efforts.

A safe and secure debit system [ top ]

Debit card fraud is an issue that Scotiabank takes very seriously since the security of this payment system is important to all Canadians. We are working with our customers to educate them about precautions they can take and we're working together with law enforcement agencies, Interac and other financial institutions to protect our customers and ensure the safety and security of the debit card system in Canada.