With a clear path on expansion, VM Money Transfer (VMMT) will be looking to expand its reach in Jamaica and across the Caribbean as the VM Group undergoes its restructuring for future growth.
VM Money Transfer recorded a 58 per cent jump in remittances processed up to February as US$151 million ($22 billion) went to its various clients who were receiving the funds for their everyday business. With the company now making up five per cent of the market, it is envisioning bigger prospects as remittances continue to climb. Total remittance inflows into Jamaica were up 17 per cent for September to US$304.5 million with remittances since April up 18 per cent to US$1.8 billion. US $3.14 billion came in as remittance inflows for April 2020 to March 2021, according to Bank of Jamaica data.
Apart from the 15 VM Building Society branches across Jamaica, there are five VM Express stores which serve clients remittance needs along with 80 sub-agents. VM Money Transfer is looking to add another 2 or 3 stores in short order to provide its clients greater reach in collecting remittances. VM Money Transfer’s remittance partners include MoneyGram, Xoom, Remitly, Small World and World Remit.
With the panemic pushing people to choose safer ways to receive their money, chief executive officer of VM Money Transfer Michael Howard noted that 30 per cent of transactions are now direct to account. This means that the transferred funds are sent directly to the bank account rather than being collected at a branch.
“After you receive a transaction for the first time and we have all your information, all your subsequent transactions will be automated. When your family or friends send money from overseas, it comes through our system through any of our selling partners, we take that information, put it in some form of file and send it to your bank account without any human interaction,” explained Howard last Monday on the automation of remittance transfers.
Though there has been a sharp uptake in receiving payments through bank accounts, Howard confirmed that 60 per cent of the remittances are still being collected as cash. He pointed out that even when they explained to customers about the option, there is still significant resistance to technology which is to possibly account for the substantial amount of cash collections. The VM Group will be launching a Visa debit card next year to allow clients to become connected to the global payment environment.
As the group continues to push for its 90 per cent of services to be available digitally by 2023, Chief Customer and Brand Officer Judith Forth Blake detailed the VM Group’s commitment to financial education. The VM Group received the Best Financial Advisor Team in the Caribbean from Capital Finance International and is currently a finalist in the Digital Transformation Excellence Awards for the VM Express Mobile Application.
“One of the ways in which we add value in the way we serve members is by providing them with financial education. We think this is a very important way for them to really transform their lives. We’re not into just selling the product and having a transaction. We’re interested in building a relationship and ensuring that we take our members to a better place financially,” stated Blake.