PSB Bank Branch Manager Wayne Johnson is on a mission to make the institution one of the preferred banking facilities in St. Maarten offering leading customer service in the industry.
The move of the bank from its former location in Pointe Blanche to its current location at Miss Lalie Commercial Center on Bush Road is one of the steps to improve visibility and accessibility to clients as the institution ups its service another notch. “It shows you the level of business that we are doing. We have seen a big increase in saving accounts being opened up and people, who have old books from maybe 20, 30 years ago, now want to reactivate their accounts and start banking at PSB again. It goes to show you that marketability, availability and visibility of any organisation will help you grow.”
Johnson is a married father of two who loves everything about the Caribbean. He enjoys cooking, swimming and going to the beach and says he always gives 100 per cent in anything he sets out to do.
He brings to the table 19 years’ experience in banking. After his education in his native Saba, Johnson landed his first job in banking at Barclays Bank in Saba. He remembers he was working in a store when a woman approached him and told him about the vacancy. He was just 16 at the time he applied and was successful. He started at the institution on April 1, 1991: “I have loved banking ever since. I find it interesting, I love the passion of it and I am happy to help people with a loan in their time of need.”
Johnson has since worked all over the Caribbean: Barclays in St. Maarten, Anguilla, Jamaica, Bahamas, St. Lucia and Grenada. He also has racked up experience working at CIBC First Caribbean International Bank, where he was the International Mortgage Manager for St. Maarten, Anguilla Saba and Statia. Starting at the bottom as a teller, Johnson has worked as a loan officer, mortgage manager, international mortgage manager and now branch manager. With so many years in banking, he knows the industry inside out.
Johnson joined PSB on June 1, 2016, on a short-term contract and was made permanent after six months. Responding to the bank’s vacancy ad, he got the job after succeeding in several rounds of interviews in St. Maarten and Curaçao.
“I decided to take on the challenge to be PSB Branch Manager because of my passion for banking and the satisfaction of giving a loan to a client who really needs it. You can see the gratefulness in their eyes. Sometimes they give you a hug, sometimes they even cry in the office. Some people even take pictures of the agreement right in front of you just to show that they would not have been able to get a house if it was not for the bank. The satisfaction of doing that is a great joy to me and that makes me happy at the end of the day.”
In addition to growing the business, increasing clientele and expanding services, Johnson would also like PSB to get into housing development to provide medium income housing to local St. Maarteners in an effort to contribute to improving the economy of the country.
Johnson said his challenge has been to move PSB from a more dormant stage to a very active and commercially-mined bank. “We have the best interest rates, but we were behind the scenes for the longest while and now that we are at the forefront, we do a lot of things such as personal loans, car loans, mortgages and express loans. That’s what our core business is and I take on the challenge to bring PSB to the forefront and probably bring it to one of the best top ranking banks in St. Maarten.”
Asked for his opinion on the country’s economy, he said the economy seems to be fairing relatively well. “We are inundated with clients, who want to get loans and they can afford it based on the stipulations of the bank and the Central Bank. People are interested and we are lending, so there is money flowing around to buy different things such as houses, cars and furniture.”
Johnson likes hearing from customers about the services of the bank. He believes this will help the institution improve on things that are not so good and bolster the things that are. “I took over from a great manager. She was very organised and she lay the foundation for PSB bank and my goal is to now take it to the roof of the so-called house.”
He believes loan officers should help guide consumers on financial planning. “Not because a flashy ride is on sale means that you have to buy it; what about buying a piece of land? Land always appreciates and never depreciates. Talk to customers about financial planning. That is the essential to improving banking in St. Maarten.”
His future goals are to become a better father every day and eventually take on the most senior position at the bank whether as director or CEO for St. Maarten, if this is possible in the bank structure.
Johnson urges youngsters who want to follow in his footsteps to work hard, pay attention, don’t be idle, aim to be number one, be alert, focus on your education, be honest clear-minded, fast and efficient.