The Jamaican Ministry of Finance has approved an application for the Jamaica National Building Society to convert to a commercial bank, meaning the organization can offer traditional checking accounts and personal loans to members.
JNBS, which operates JN Money Services in the Cayman Islands and elsewhere, needs its membership to approve the conversion before it can begin making the switch to a more traditional banking model. A company representative said the change would have no immediate impact on the difficulties people in Cayman are having sending remittances back home to Jamaica.
“We have come a long way since our first application seven years ago, and we are definitely committed to repositioning JN to better serve our members,” JNBS general manager Earl Jarrett said in a press release. “This is a major achievement for us.”
If approved by its membership, the conversion would make JNBS the third largest commercial bank in Jamaica. The company said it will have almost 13 percent of the market. The two biggest banks in Jamaica are National Commercial Bank, with more than a third of the market share, and Scotiabank, with more than 25 percent of commercial banking customers in the country, according to government statistics.
JNBS first applied for a commercial banking license in 2008 and submitted a new application in late 2013. The new status will require the JN Group to reorganize its companies to comply with the Jamaican Banking Services Act.
Mr. Jarrett said, “We have, therefore, been making the necessary operational changes, which must be implemented to make the change possible; and, we are ready to reposition Jamaica National to successfully chart another 141 years as a bona fide member of the commercial banking sector.”