Business

Credit Union subsidiary targeting regional businesses

Jamaican company bullish about T&T

BY SHAMILLE SCOTT Business reporter scotts@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, January 10, 2014    

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JAMAICAN firm, Centralised Strategic Services (CSS), aims to increase regional sales by 10 per cent this year.

It's early days yet but Heston Hutton, the managing director of CSS, which offers professional outsourcing services, is cautiously optimistic.

"The feedback has been very positive following the engagements we've had with stakeholders in the other islands," he told the Caribbean Business Report.

The company recently ended a phase of discussions with financial institutions and government officials in Trinidad and Tobago about CSS facilitating strategic reviews of each organisation, with a view to develop plans for fundamental gaps.

This quarter, Hutton will jet off again for another phase of discussions.

"The prospects are bright," Hutton said.

He added that the company is also bullish about getting additional business in other islands.

"Wherever there's business, we are going for it," Hutton said.

The company currently gets 90 per cent of its business locally, Hutton said.

Still, CSS wasn't formed to be dependent on the local market.

"Like most things, you have to see how you can expand," he said.

The recent visit to the twin island republic was facilitated by the Jamaica-T&T Trade Facilitation Desk, which was established in May 2012 to assist Jamaican firms currently doing business -- or planning to do business -- with Trinidad and Tobago.

Though there have been discussions surrounding the economic relations between the two Caricom states, the CSS managing director affirmed that relations have been good, from his point of view.

"I haven't had a bad experience during any of my visits there; they are very receptive," he said.

Hutton further added: "We are heartened by the support we have received from the Jamaica-T&T Trade Facilitation Desk, which facilitated our entry into the Trinidad market."

CSS is a subsidiary of the Jamaica Co-operative Credit Union League (JCCUL) that provides strategic services to the credit union movement network. It is a key player in the roll-out of the Jamaica Credit Union e-payment Services System (JCUES), which includes bill payment, bill enquiries and mobile phone top-ups locally.

At the same time, the JCCUL is gearing up to conduct its proof of concept - testing of the mobile money concept locally. It commenced phase one of JCUES last year, whereby credit union members could access its services. The company is also on target to launching in the first quarter of this year.

Even so, the company is subject to continuous assessment from the Bank of Jamaica but doesn't foresee any challenges with fully rolling out the services.

"We work closely with the central bank and I don't foresee any delays with respect to final approval," Hutton disclosed.

The company holds a portfolio that includes capacity building and project management, internal auditing, risk management analysis, enterprise security, process and procedure documentation, call centre services, and marketing.

CSS has been invited to the Cayman Islands to inform capacity building and improve business and technological infrastructures there.

In Latin America, the company was an integral player in a specialist team commissioned to assess the Peruvian e-payment infrastructure towards future augmentation.

CSS has established professional partnerships in North America, partnering with US- based technology powerhouse, Mozido, to launch Jamaica's only regulated mobile payment system, JCUES.

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