JNBS mem­bers ap­prove com­mer­cial bank

Jamaica Gleaner - - BUSINESS - Tameka.gor­don@glean­erjm.com steven.jack­son@glean­erjm.com

MEM­BERS OF the Ja­maica Na­tional Build­ing So­ci­ety (JNBS) voted their ap­proval of the plan for the mort­gage in­sti­tu­tion to trans­form into a com­mer­cial bank, a con­ver­sion that is ex­pected to take ef­fect by Jan­uary.

More than 23,000 mem­bers voted in favour of the tran­si­tion, while even more of them, over 24,000, ap­proved the adoption of the new scheme of ar­range­ments for the over­ar­ch­ing group at a spe­cial gen­eral meet­ing on Mon­day in Kingston.

It is the last big hur­dle for the so­ci­ety, com­ing a year af­ter the cen­tral bank fi­nally signed off on the bank­ing li­cence that it had chased for more than seven years.

JNBS will next re­port back to the Supreme Court for its fi­nal ap­proval of its re­or­gan­i­sa­tion plan, Chair­man Oliver Clarke said.

Although the vote was favourable, it was pref­aced by a lengthy ques­tion and an­swer pe­riod in which share­hold­ers sought as­sur­ances that they would be pro­tected from “the ex­or­bi­tant fees” that are com­mon place at the other com­mer­cial banks.

The new JN Bank will be­come the third largest of seven banks on its tran­si­tion.

“We don’t in­tend to copy the banks in high fees,” Clarke as­sured them.

“In the last few days, one of the banks has an­nounced prof­its that are many, many mul­ti­ples of what Ja­maica Na­tional earns. You only make that by charg­ing high fees and by care­ful use of the trea­sury. We hope not to em­u­late that,” he said.

It was a ref­er­ence to Na­tional Com­mer­cial Bank Ja­maica, which last week re­ported net profit of $14.4 bil­lion, its high­est on record. A big con­trib­u­tor to NCB’s earn­ings came from a net $11 bil­lion of fees and com­mis­sion in­come.

Clarke told share­hold­ers that by virtue of the re­ten­tion of their own­er­ship of the over­ar­ch­ing hold­ing com­pany for the re­stricted JN Harry Bhooras­ingh casts his bal­lot at the spe­cial gen­eral meet­ing of the Ja­maica Na­tional Build­ing So­ci­ety held at the Ja­maica Con­fer­ence Cen­tre in Kingston on Mon­day, Novem­ber 14, 2016. Look­ing on are Martin Gooden (left) and Onyka Bar­rett (right).

group, they can hold the direc­tors ac­count­able.

Ja­maica Na­tional does not have “as its first ob­jec­tive the max­imi­sa­tion of prof­its; it seeks to max­imise the ben­e­fits that its mem­bers get from the or­gan­i­sa­tion,” the chair­man said.

LO­CAL HANDS

He also told the JNBS mem­bers that there are no plans to take the bank or its hold­ing com­pany pub­lic, say­ing that if JN Bank were to list on the “I guess that within six months it would be for­eign owned”, whereas the direc­tors want own­er­ship to re­main in lo­cal hands.

Mau­reen Hay­den-Cater will head JN Bank. She is cur­rently an ex­ec­u­tive with JNBS, which she joined af­ter leav­ing the GraceKennedy group, where she headed First Global Bank.

At Mon­day’s meet­ing, Hay­denCater said JN Bank has al­ready started pick­ing up trac­tion through a num­ber of ser­vices it has launched, in­clud­ing credit cards and car loans.

Un­der the new scheme of ar­range­ments, the 142-year-old JNBS will re­main a mu­tual or­gan­i­sa­tion, continuing the own­er­ship by its mem­bers, which will be pre­served in a new mu­tual hold­ing com­pany. That hold­ing com­pany will own all the en­ti­ties in the over­ar­ch­ing JN Group.

The new struc­ture will in­clude a non-fi­nan­cial hold­ing com­pany to be chaired by Dr Dhiru Tanna, the deputy chair­man of JNBS.

Five JNBS sub­sidiaries, two as­so­ci­ated com­pa­nies and a re­lated com­pany, Trans­ac­tion E-Pins, will fall un­der the

non-fi­nan­cial hold­ing com­pany. Sub­sidiary com­pany Man­u­fac­tur­ers Credit and In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices Lim­ited (MCIS) will be merged with Ja­maica Au­to­mo­bile As­so­ci­a­tion to form a new en­tity called JAA (Ser­vices) Lim­ited. MCIS pro­vides fleet man­age­ment ser­vices through its Ad­vance card.

The credit por­tion of MCIS’s busi­ness will be ab­sorbed into the bank’s oper­a­tions, JN said.

Clarke will con­tinue as chair­man of the over­all group, and will also chair the fi­nan­cial group and the bank.

JNBS Gen­eral Man­ager Earl Jar­rett will con­tinue to head the fi­nan­cial group, un­der which 11 sub­sidiaries fall.

March 2017; and Lux­ury Vil­las in Mills­bor­ough – to break ground by Fe­bru­ary 2017.

“For Bloomfield Park, the next step is that we are go­ing to mar­ket and cur­rently seek­ing par­ties in­ter­ested in par­tic­i­pat­ing in the de­vel­op­ment,” Shirley said. This in­cludes in­vestors, devel­op­ers, pur­chasers and ten­ants.

Shirley also in­di­cated that Proven is seek­ing a part­ner to de­velop the ho­tel.

“We are in dis­cus­sions with a few ho­tel op­er­a­tors for them to de­sign and de­velop the ho­tel. So we will be in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the se­lected op­er­a­tor, once we have come to an agree­ment,” he said. Ni­cholas Scott, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Ep­p­ley Lim­ited.

JER­MAINE BARN­ABY/FREE­LANCE PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

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