(CMR) On the heels of JN Bank's launch in the United Kingdom last year, the Jamaica National Group said it is gearing up to establish JN Bank in the Cayman Islands soon.
Speaking at the 4th Annual General Meeting of The Jamaica National Group, Earl Jarrett, chief executive officer, said the group had signaled its intention to Cayman authorities that it will be changing its business model.
JN Cayman currently operates as the only building society under financial laws in The Cayman Islands, offering mainly mortgages and savings to its members.
Jarrett said a major reason for the conversion is the Building Societies Act of Cayman's regulatory constraints, which has impeded growth and profitability for years.
“For several years, JN Cayman’s growth has been stymied by Section 19 of the Building Societies Law, which stipulates that the ratio of deposits to loans must be less than 75 percent,” Jarrett told members during the group’s first hybrid AGM on Friday, February 19.
“A commercial banking license would enable us to increase the deposit and loan portfolios, grow the JN brand, and support the expansion of our remittance business, JNMS (JN Money Services) Cayman Limited, through the provision of correspondent banking services,” he said.
The company had faced severe correspondent banking issues since 2014 when its banker pulled the plug on JNMS Cayman. Since then, it has resolved the issue but continues to face problems because of the perceived risks of money transfer businesses.
JN said in addition to providing banking services, the commercial bank is expected to provide even greater access to the unbanked in Cayman and improved financial products and services, driven by innovative technology, to conveniently serve Caymanians, the Jamaican Diaspora, and the wider Caribbean region.
Financier Jermaine Deans, who was appointed managing director in December 2019, is tasked with leading the JN Cayman transformation process. The new bank will model its sister commercial bank in the UK.
“This will be supported by a strong use of technology, including online banking and ease of access of service,” Jarrett informed.