Nice move! Jamaica National goes more global


Nice move! Jamaica National goes more global

Sunday, October 11, 2020

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A highly regarded former Jamaican international trade negotiator often maintained that it is firms that compete in the global marketplace, not countries, the logic being that an economy is an agglomeration of firms and therefore a national economy is only as internationally competitive as its firms are.

The problem for small developing countries, like Jamaica, is that there are a limited number of global firms, most of them foreign-owned, whose operating goals and resource allocation decisions are not motivated by the national economy.

The driving force for local economic growth is the nationally owned firms that are globally competitive. Their competitiveness is shown in exports and/or their foreign direct investment.

Sandals Resorts and GraceKennedy, for example, are Jamaican-owned firms that are globally competitive. The more globally competitive Jamaican-owned firms we have the better for Jamaica's economic development.

In this regard, we noted with keen interest that the Jamaica National Bank opened for business on Thursday in the United Kingdom. In doing so, it became the first Caribbean-owned commercial bank to be granted a full banking licence by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).

The new bank is a subsidiary of Jamaica National Group and will start operating by providing retail banking services. The JN Group is well established in the Caribbean community for more than 32 years via the UK Representative Office and its remittance member company, JN Money Services (JNMS UK). The vision involves increasingly expanding their customer base into the general UK market.

JN Bank in the UK is a separate entity from the UK Representative Office, which will continue to provide services to Jamaicans in the UK who have accounts with JN Bank in Jamaica.

This is a considerable achievement and must be credited to the leadership of Earl Jarrett, the chief executive officer of Jamaica National Group. The century-old Jamaica National Group had its origins as a mutual building society.

The new venture will expand the international operations of the JN Group covering the UK, Canada, the US and the Cayman Islands. The companies that provide financial services within the Jamaica National Group are JN Bank, JN General Insurance Company, JN Fund Managers, JN Life Insurance Company, JN Money Services Limited, JN Small Business Loans Limited and JN Cayman.

The development marks the successful conclusion of a long period of planning and working through the stringent requirements of the UK authorities at a challenging time for both the Jamaican and the UK economies, because of the COVID-19.

The JN Group has astutely hired experienced British financial staff to give the market confidence. The CEO of the new financial entity will be Mr Dean Fensome, the former CEO of Holmesdale Building Society, and the board of directors will be chaired by former Bank of England senior adviser, Mr Ian Marshall.

We exhort the Jamaicans and Jamaican companies at home and especially in the UK to support the JN Bank as nationals from India, Israel, Turkey, Mexico and many other countries are wont to support their nationally-owned companies.

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