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Cash transfer firm blames local banks for business woes

| 09/12/2015 | 3 Comments
Cayman News Service

JN Money Transfer meeting

(CNS Business): The chair of a Cayman-based Jamaican cash transfer company has made it clear that he believes the banks are to blame for the problems his firm and its affiliates are facing, as he encouraged customers of those banks who also use remittance services to raise their concerns and even implied they should boycott the banks. Visiting Cayman from Jamaica, Earl Jarrett, who is the general manager of Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) and the chair of JNMS Cayman, said banks pulled services from money remittances companies because they believe those customers are risky.

But he said in Cayman it was ordinary decent, working people using those services who are also customers of those very same banks. He said the banks were “misguided” when they were picking on the money transfer sector and their customers. He said it was not “dirty money” being sent from Cayman but the banks were ticking boxes to satisfy their US banking partners. JNMS was banking locally with Cayman National.

Jarrett said the local Cayman banks could have done much more to demonstrate to their US partners that they had the systems in place and that local remittance services were clean and honest.

He said that, after visiting all of the local banks, the firm was in talks with just one, which appeared prepared to offer the necessary banking services. Scotia Bank which has offered services to Western Union via its partner firm, Grace Kennedy, is the only retail bank in Cayman which remains at the table. Jarrett said he was hopeful that talks would be successful and JNMS and its affiliates would be back in a position to offer Cayman dollar services again before Christmas.

However, with less than one hundred people attending Tuesday’s meeting on the problems faced by the local cash transfer sector, it appeared that the real challenge is now a commercial one for JNMS and its affiliates.

Following the reintroduction of services by Western Union and the increase in US cash in circulation, community concerns have abated since the summer, when a town hall meeting in George town was packed with angry and concerned expatriate workers.

The problem now is that JNMS and related firms, such as Moneygram and Quikcash, between them previously had the lion’s share of business in Cayman, which they are now losing. The long lines over the last week at Western Union after they resumed operations from Foster’s supermarkets makes it clear that former JN customers are using their competitor’s services.

Clearly seeing the outcome as unfair, since Western Union closed its operations immediately on losing banking services with Fidelity, the chair lauded his own business efforts to keep helping customers by at least offering the US currency service.

Taking aim at Western Union for only taking care of its own needs and not the sector as a whole, he said the Cayman banking community had “been fearful and shot us down”, but without the necessary influence or power, the company had to keep battling on.

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Category: Finance

Comments (3)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    A significant proportion of Jamaicans in Cayman are working outside of the terms of their immigration permissions. That alone makes their earnings unlawful. That makes it all very high risk.

    • Anonymous says:

      What really irritates me is that Caymanians look up to Seafarers who went OVERSEES to WORK yet look down on expats who also come here to work!! What is the difference? If there was enough money here at that time, they themselves would not have left their families to earn a living “to send back home.” Every time an issue arises, the hardworking expats of this country are looked down upon as if they are doing something illegal here. MAJORITY OF EXPATS are here LEGALLY! How dare you say their earnings are unlawful!? Smh!

      • Anonymous says:

        The seamen did not get paid on ship and then send their earnings home. The company sent there allotments home to their families. That’s the difference, the money was earned from the company that employed them and their immigration status was always in compliance with their contracts. Your are irritated about what you think you know.

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