Banco Popular’s new Cruz Bay site, above, is already offering ATM services and a customer service representative should be at the new electronic branch this week.
After years of looking for the right space to open a St. John branch, Banco Popular is only days away from opening the doors of its first Love City electronic office.
Just a few steps off the Loredon Boynes Sr. Ferry Dock, Banco Popular is opening its St. John electronic branch in part of the old Mooie’s Bar building in the heart of downtown Cruz Bay. Banco Popular joins the other three financial institutions with branches on St. John; FirstBank, ScotiaBank and Merchant’s Commercial Bank.
The fourth largest banking group in Spain, Banco Popular launched its North American, Caribbean and Latin American services in 1961. Today there are about 90 branches from California to St. Thomas; and soon, St. John.
Already the bank’s Automatic Teller Machine is up and running and officials expect to complete interior work next week, explained Banco Popular Assistant Vice President Keisha Prince.
“The ATM is already open and anyone can use it,” said Prince. “You don’t need to be a Banco Popular customer; any card from any bank will work. The machine also takes easy deposits so customers can deposit into their accounts right at the ATM.”
“In the next few days, we’ll be wrapping up the finishing touches inside and getting all the computers in place,” Prince said. “We’re still in the process of finishing inside, but we’re close.”
Once the interior work on the new electronic branch is compete, residents can expect to meet with a representative and be able to open a Banco Popular account, Prince explained.
“We’re going to have a representative, Tiffanie Quetel, there for the next few months, who will be able to answer any questions,” said the Banco Popular assistant vice president. “She’ll be stationed there temporarily and will work with customers who want to open accounts. I’ll also be in and out of the branch there, so we’ll have a good presence.”
All deposits will be made through the ATM and officials also plan to offer night deposit services for business clients, Prince added.
After years of talking about and planning on opening a St. John branch, Banco Popular officials are excited about the bank’s newest presence.
“We’re very close and we’re excited,” said Prince. “We’re just putting all the little finishing touches in place and we’ll have our employee there next week who will be able to lend any assistance to customers.”
While many residents are excited to have another banking option on the island, however, not everyone on St. John is thrilled with Banco Popular’s choice of location.
The bank transformed about a quarter of the historic Mooie’s Bar building. With bright blue paint and a gleaming white entrance, the space looks a far cry from the charming West Indian building which has anchored the highly-visible, high-traffic Cruz Bay corner for decades.
“I think it’s very unfortunate that they [Banco] didn’t design the space in keeping with the character of the original design,” said a St. John resident, who asked to not be identified. “They should have respected the character of the original building.”