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JN to establish commercial bank in Cayman

Following the launch of JN Bank in the United Kingdom last year, the Jamaica National Group is set to establish JN Bank in the Cayman Islands.

Speaking at the fourth annual general meeting (AGM) of the group, Earl Jarrett, chief executive officer, said the group has signalled its intention to Cayman authorities that it will be changing its business model.

JN Cayman currently operates as the only building society under financial laws in the Cayman Islands, offering mainly mortgages and savings to its members. He said a major reason for the conversion is the regulatory constraints of the Building Societies Act of Cayman, which has impeded growth and profitability for years.

“For several years, JN Cayman’s growth has been stymied by Section 19 of the Building Societies Law, which stipulates that the ratio of deposits to loans must be less than 75 per cent,” Jarrett told members during the group’s first hybrid AGM on Friday, February 19.

“A commercial banking licence would enable us to increase the deposit and loan portfolios, grow the JN brand, and support the expansion of our remittance business, JNMS [JN Money Services] Cayman Limited, through the provision of correspondent banking services,” he said.

The company has faced severe correspondent banking issues since 2014, when its then banker pulled the plug on JNMS Cayman. It has resolved the issue since then, but continues to face problems because of the perceived risks of money transfer businesses.

The JN Group hopes to launch its commercial bank in Cayman soon. It is expected, beyond correspondent banking services, to provide even greater access to the unbanked in Cayman, as well as improved financial products and services, driven by innovative technology, to conveniently serve Caymanians, the Jamaican Diaspora and the wider Caribbean region.