VM Group reports 50% growth in remittance transactionsWednesday, March 31, 2021
By David Rose
Victoria Mutual (VM) Group is reporting that it surpassed expectations with a more than 50 per cent growth in remittance transactions, exceeding its revised transaction values in 2020.
Group President and CEO Courtney Campbell told a recent Jamaica Observer Business Forum that VM Money Transfer Services recorded a 58 per cent growth in remittance transaction volume in 2020 with inflows increasing by 67 per cent to US$151 million ($22 billion) compared with US$90 million ($13.1 billion) in 2019.
Remittances inflows to Jamaica grew by 25 per cent to US$2.03 billion ($292.3 billion) between April and November with November recording a 19 per cent increase according to the Bank of Jamaica's remittance reports. This contrasted with the US$1.63 billion brought in during the same 2019 period before the novel coronavirus pandemic.
However, Peter Reid, VM's CEO, Building Society Operations, noted that the growth in remittances wasn't particularly surprising especially with September recording a 34 per cent increase to US$260 million ($38 billion). He posited that September, which has the traditional back-to-school rush, sees a general uptick in that time of the year just like high volume periods such as Mother's Day and Christmas.
“The data from the Ministry [of Finance] isn't atypical of any other year. In other words, persons tend to support their families in that period for those reasons, whether it's a pandemic or not. To disaggregate and say it was because of a pandemic year why you saw that growth isn't a strong indicator. In any typical year that period has an uptick,” Reid said.
He did point out that the growth in digital transactions was up by 126 per cent with more remittances going directly to bank accounts rather than being collected in branch. This also supported the building society's overall performance which Reid described as exceptional due to revised net income targets being surpassed by several leaps.
“The overall picture for VMBS was that it had a really good year. We meet our financial and customer targets as well as internal processes... Income from FX (foreign exchange) gains were surpassed primarily because of the devaluation,” he added.
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