Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Monday, 06 November 2017 15:01

PHOTO: Madman locked himself in ATM

A man of unsound mind locked himself in an automated teller machine (ATM) in Old Harbour, sparking drama amongst passersby.

The drama, which lasted for roughly 30 minutes, unfolded at about 11:00 AM yesterday when persons in the line noticed the unusual length of time being taken by the individual inside the Scotiabank ATM.

Persons in the queue only became aware that the user inside is mentally challenged or a madman in Jamaican parlance, when one man in the line made a quick peep over the top.

The immediate reaction was mixed as while some persons burst out into laughter, others cut a frustrated figure because the deranged individual had also locked himself inside.

Some persons banged the door, yelling at the man to get out but he responded by shouting that he was “waiting on mi money!”.

Cops at the Old Harbour Police Station, adjacent to the bank, were called in to address the delicate situation with due consideration given not to damage the bank’s property or hurt the man inside.

The cops eventually managed to use a piece of 2”x4” board to prised the door open and lift the latch inside.

The man ran out shouting “officer nuh lick mi, a mi money mi want” to the amusement of onlookers.

Published in News

The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) announced recently that the Scotiabank enterprise-wide risk management and financing program, (SERMaF) has done a sterling job in producing the first Caribbean risk assessment tool.

DBJ’s General Manager of Strategic Services, Claudine Tracey, told business owners and other stakeholders at SERMaF’s closing ceremony, that the psychometric risk-rating model will help the DBJ shape its policies and programmes for MSMEs.

Tracey said the model can advance the DBJ’s aim to provide Jamaican entrepreneurs with capital, collateral and capacity building and increase access to financing for MSMEs in Jamaica.

The technical analysis was spearheaded by consultant Professor Vanus James using a study that collected data from over 1,000 SMEs in a stratified random sample that included all parishes.

The model is meant to implement an upgraded business and risk-rating system for MSMEs, but to later include medium-sized and large businesses. Two key findings, according to Professor Vanus, are that MSMEs are well represented among top performing firms and that the smaller businesses that are not growing are asset constrained, and they can’t grow unless they get access to credit.

The DBJ partnered with Scotiabank and the University of Technology (UTech) on SERMaF in May 2014 and provided $13.6M in grant financing to expand the project.

At yesterday’s ceremony, Professor Rosalea Hamilton, SERMAF’s Project Director and Vice President for Development at UTech, thanked the DBJ for doing the heavy lifting in supporting the programme.

“We couldn’t have done it without you,” she said.

The DBJ and Scotiabank have partnered in the past on MSME initiatives. In 2015, the DBJ loaned more than $785 million to 50 MSMEs through Scotiabank. Seventyone Scotia business customers got financial statements business plans and other services through DBJ’s voucher for technical assistance programme.

The VTA is a DBJ capacity development grant that gives MSMEs access to specific business development products and services from an accredited list of business development organizations. The DBJ finances 70% of the cost up to $500,000 so that business can better access credit to grow.

Tracey explained that Scotiabank issued DBJ’s first voucher, to Norsai Distributors, for a loan of $30 million. Norsai was then able to hire 60 fulltime and 130 part-time employees.

“The DBJ will use the psychometric and business data derived from the firms to better position our intervention programmes to help MSMEs to expand, be more efficient, profitable and sustainable,” says Tracey. “We expect Scotiabank will use the psychometric credit scoring tool to enhance its credit appraisal system for MSME lending.”

Other project partners in SERMaF include the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Institute of Law and Economics.

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Published in Business News

Earl Jarrett, general manager of the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) disclosed that the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) has indicated that it has “no objection”, in principle, to the society’s conversion to a commercial bank.

Addressing members at the JNBS 141st annual general meeting (AGM) at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on July 29, Jarrett revealed that the BOJ indicated its non-objection by way of a letter in March of this year, signalling the mounting of the first hurdle in JNBS’ move to convert to a commercial bank.

The BOJ recently completed its audit of the society’s credit operations; and Jamaica National is awaiting the central bank’s review of the findings.

“This is a major achievement for us; and will prepare the society for the next stages, which are to apply to the Courts; and, then to hold a special general meeting with members to discuss the details of our re-organisation process to obtain members’ approval for the conversion,” Jarrett said. “We have come a long way since we began this process some seven years ago, and we are committed to seeing it through,” he advised members.

JNBS re-submitted its application for a commercial banking licence in November 2013 along with its business plan to restructure the JN Group to meet the requirements of the new Banking Services Act.

The building society previously made an application to the BOJ for a banking licence in 2008. If its current application is approved by the BOJ, it would make JN the third largest commercial bank in the country with 12.8 per cent of the market, behind the National Commercial Bank and Scotiabank with approximately 36 per cent and 26 per cent, respectively.

“This re-organisation is a complex one, which has not been achieved in Jamaica before; and, therefore, we are learning and charting new paths as we go along,” he told JN members at the AGM.

To remain compliant with the Banking Services Act, passed last year, JN proposed a structure to the BOJ, which will enable members to be shareholders of a single mutual holding company to own all JN assets, Jarrett explained.

“We have been careful to ensure that our members are not short changed in the process, and that the concept of ‘mutuality’ will remain a principal focus at the core of the new structure,” he said.

Under its proposed structure, the building society will transition to a commercial bank, which, along with other regulated companies in the JN Group, will be owned by a financial holding company. The ownership of the remaining non-regulated companies will be assumed by a non-financial holding company. Both financial and non-financial holding companies will be fully-owned by the mutual holding company. Jarrett stated that the conversion of JNBS to a commercial bank will allow the organisation to offer a more competitive and expanded range of credit products and services, beyond the options which building societies now offer. And, he emphasised that the change was also necessary for the organisation to maintain its relevance.

“We have to change because legislative modifications, such as the Banking Services Act, require the separation of risks associated with financial and non-financial operations within groups of companies. We have to change because our customers are demanding more financial services than the Building Societies Act allows us to offer. We have to change, because, if we do not move with the times, we will indeed become irrelevant,” he sermonised.

JNBS and its subsidiaries performed reasonably during the 2014-2015 financial realising a net surplus of $1.21 billion.

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Published in Business News

Two senior executives of one of the country’s leading financial institutions have come out in support of Government’s economic programme, stating that it is facilitating growth and raising the country’s investment profile internationally.

Chief Executive Officer of Scotia Group Jamaica Limited, Jacqueline Sharp said that “right now Jamaica is poised for growth”.

“We have seen the commitment so far demonstrated by the Government in executing the economic programme agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). I would like to…. recognise the (Finance and Planning) Minister, Dr. Peter Phillips, for his very strong leadership in this regard, and to commend him for the successes we have seen in this very difficult and challenging environment,” she stated.

Ms. Sharp, who was addressing the opening of the bank’s Fairview Financial Centre in Montego Bay on Wednesday (January 7), also cited the significant efforts made by Government to improve Jamaica’s business climate.

These efforts, she said, have raised the country’s investment profile on the international landscape and have resulted in Jamaica being ranked as the best place to do business in the Caribbean.

In her outlook for 2015, Ms. Sharp listed the slowing in the depreciation of the local currency; continued stability in interest rates and possibly even slight reductions throughout the year; single digit inflation; and continued growth in some key sectors such as tourism and agriculture.

“There are many possibilities available to Jamaica at this time and many possibilities available in Montego Bay,” she said, while pledging her bank’s willingness to partner with the local investors.

Scotia Bank Senior Vice President for English Caribbean International Banking, Bruce Bowen, noted that Jamaica is among the three most watched economies in the English-speaking Caribbean.

“As you speak to people across the Caribbean, Jamaica (is being) talked about… as an example of when tough decisions are made, when a society as a whole… comes together, what is possible,” he said.

Citing positive developments in Montego Bay, in particular, Mr. Bowen said: “if you go across the Caribbean, there are probably only two other places that … appear to be economically booming like Montego Bay. Cayman is one of them and you get a little bit like that in St Maarten as well. That shows the vibrancy of the economy, the vibrancy of the people and the entrepreneurs in this area.”

Both executives agreed that it was Scotia Bank’s experience in Jamaica

that had shaped the bank’s regional and global outlook resulting in its presence in over 50 countries and ranked, by Market Capitalisation, among the 20 largest global banks.

Minister Phillips, who was the keynote speaker at the ceremony, commended the bank for its significant investment in western Jamaica, describing its new facilities as an example of its commitment to growth.

Published in Business News

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