Fri | Dec 2, 2016

Jamaica Bankers Association says farewell to Hayden-Cater

Published:Thursday | April 2, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Jamaican banker, Maureen Hayden-Cater.

A CADRE of bankers said farewell to Maureen Hayden-Cater as outgoing president of the Jamaica Bankers Association (JBA) on Tuesday, with Nigel Holness of FirstCaribbean Jamaica describing her departure as a sad occasion.

However, the mood at the event itself was jovial, with bankers attempting to upstage each other in toasts to the outgoing president.

Veteran banker Peter Moses of Citibank NA Jamaica said that one of the highlights of Hayden-Cater's tenure as chief advocate for the banks was the continuation, and improvement, of the legacy that Bruce Bowen left. Bowen was president of the JBA when he ran Scotia Group Jamaica.

"Presidents sometimes let go of what was before, but you have built on it, you have massaged it into something that was better than what was there," said Moses.

And, invoking the "Moses prophecy", he predicted that Hayden-Cater would remain close to her peers.

Hayden-Cater's departure is the result of her pending departure as president of First Global Bank, effective April 3. She resigned under a group restructuring exercise by parent GraceKennedy Limited. She was replaced by Courtney Campbell.

At the JBA, Nigel Holness, who is vice-president, will act as president until a vote is taken on a new candidate.

JBA Executive Director Richard Murray explained on Wednesday that the resignation of a president is automatic once the officeholder departs the substantive banking post, in the same way Bruce Bowen resigned when he was promoted by Scotiabank Canada.

Hayden-Cater, a career banker for more than 20 years, told the Financial Gleaner that she would remain in Jamaica. She said she saw the restructuring at GraceKennedy as an "opportunity to step out of the corporate world for a little bit".

First Global is the No. 5 bank in a sector of six commercial banks.

Reflecting on the three years spent running the bank, Hayden-Cater said the bank had made its mark, "especially in 2013, we won some awards which nobody expected a little, small bank would have been able to do," said Hayden-Cater. "We were winners for best Internet banking and best customer service. I am very proud of those because we were so small and yet we were able to demonstrate those capabilities."

In 2012 as well, the bank was selected by World Finance, a leading financial magazine in London, as 'Best Banking Group' for Jamaica.

Hayden-Cater then attributed the achievement to the company's strong customer relationship management and the use of technology in delivering value-added and unique services.

On Tuesday, she said: "I think at FGB we provided options, more options, for customers and the organisation has grown tremendously. I am very proud of the growth in both sides - deposits and loans."

She described her tenure at the bank as a journey. "It's time to close that door and I am sure another one will open."

Regarding the JBA, she described the experience as president as "great", saying it allowed the head of a small bank to pull together all the major players to achieve things for the sector.

"I am really, really happy to have had the experience. We have a fantastic group of workers within the financial sector who support the JBA and they pull together to work on behalf of the varying banks, even though we are competitors. For example, we would have a committee that works on public policy. When a new policy comes out, all the banks are represented in looking at it, with one voice. It makes it an easier job for representation," Hayden-Cater said.

Hayden-Cater's presidency coincided with the finalisa-tion of banking reform legislation, culminating in the new Banking Services Act.

She said the reforms would make for an even stronger banking sector.

"It was really an amalgamation of bits and pieces out there before. So I thinks it's good that we will have one document that covers the sector. We are still working on the implications of some changes, but, as I said before, we are working on it as a group at the Bankers Association. Some of our individual institutions will need to make some changes to make sure that they are within the act," she added.

The new law will also open up new opportunities in the area of agency banking, for example. "A lot us are looking forward to that."

"Have no fear; our regulators are aligning us with world standards and we are happy for that. A pretty strong banking sector is going to make the system stronger. It's a lot of hard work, but it's worth it because, in the end, if your banking system fails the country fails," the banker added.

Before joining FGB, Hayden-Cater spent 21 years with Citibank NA Jamaica.

A graduate of the University of the West Indies, Mona, she holds a master of science degree in economics, specialising in quantitative economics and econometrics, and a bachelor of arts degree in economics and mathematics.

She is married with two daughters and the next couple of months, she said, will be spent with family.

"My daughter, who is 16, I want to spend some time with her. I will have at least two to three months to spend with her. My other daughter is coming back home from school in Scotland. I will have some time with them, and then I will start looking around."

Banking remains Hayden-Cater's passion and she expects to retake the saddle soon.

"It's what I have done for more than 20-odd years ... all my life. I am still interested," she said.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com