Jamaica National group expanded its
remittance services with the acquisition of two money service operators.
Jamaica National subsidiaries JN Money Services Ltd and the National Building
Society of Cayman have taken over First Financial Caribbean Limited and First
Financial Caribbean Jamaica Ltd, which operated QuickCash and SunMoney.
“This acquisition solidifies JN
Money Services’ position as a major player in the international remittance
market and provides the basis on which we can explore other ventures,” said
Leesa Kow, general manager of JN Money Services, following the signing of the
sale agreement on 30 July.
The remittance market has taken a hit
in the wake of the global economic crisis, but showed signs of recovery in
2010. In light of this continued recovery, JNMS sees the acquisition as a
strategic opportunity to expand the brand, Ms Kow said.
The acquisition will in fact
provide JN Money Services with the dominant market position in the remittance
business from the Cayman Islands to Jamaica.
Remittances to Jamaica constitute
just under 15 per cent of Jamaica’s GDP, according to the most recent Bank of
Jamaica statistics. Cayman historically contributed between 5 per cent and 10
per cent of all remittances to Jamaica. However, in 2009 remittances from
Cayman dropped to US$97.3 million, the lowest amount since 2003, and in the
first five months of 2010 Cayman remittances to Jamaica had not rebounded,
averaging less than $8 million per month.
In part this was caused by a
significant reduction in the number of Jamaican residents in Cayman. In the
past 21 months the number of Jamaican work permit holders has dropped by more
than 3,000 to a total of just 8,600.
In addition, in early 2010 the
Cayman Islands government introduced a remittance fee of 2 per cent of the
transfer value capped at CI$10, a measure which makes it more expensive to send
remittances and run money service operations.
JNMS, which operates the JN
International Money Transfer brand, continued to grow despite the impact of the
global economic recession on the remittance industry, the company said.
“It is against that background that
we continue to aggressively pursue our expansion initiatives, such as moving
into the African market, and further consolidating our position in the
Caribbean,” said Ms Kow.
Delroy Howell, chairman of First
Financial International Group, indicated that he sold the money service
business to enable his organisation to pursue other ventures in Cayman.
He noted that JN Money Services
will readily benefit from the infusion of the buoyancy of QuikCash and
“We observed the ‘people synergy’
of JN International Money Transfer, which was one of our main competitors in
Cayman and welcomed the opportunity to sell our business to an organisation
with a similar vision and philosophy,” Mr. Howell said.