Sun | Oct 22, 2017

JN Money limits transactions to US dollars in Cayman

Published:Wednesday | August 26, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Leesa Kow, managing director of JN Money Services.

The Cayman Islands (CI) operation of JN Money Services (JNMS) has advised that, starting August 24, it will accept US dollars only for money transfer, MoneyGram and Quick Cash transactions.

The action appears to be an accommodation of requests from its Cayman bank, which is moving to close the accounts of money transfer companies, citing correspondent banking concerns about the risks of money laundering.

JNMS Managing Director Leesa Kow was not available for comment on what the switch to US dollars meant for the resolution of the banking issue for JN, which banks with Cayman National Bank and had been in talks to stave off the closure of its accounts.

On Tuesday, however, the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) pointed Wednesday Business to information released jointly with the Ministry of Financial Services, Commerce and the Environment, which stated that JNMS, MoneyGram and Quick Cash have established new arrangements for money transfers which will allow them to continue providing remittance services for CI customers.

CIMA's managing director, Cindy Scotland, did not specify the arrangements, only that the authority had reviewed them and would continue to fully supervise money-services businesses, as it did prior to the changes.

Still, while the matter appears to have been resolved for JNMS, the other affected business, Western Union, is still in negotiations, and its shops remain closed.

The American money transfer company is in "fruitful discussions with interested parties, with the view of re-establishing operations as soon as possible," said the Ministry of Financial Services.

Another company, Fast Funds, advised CIMA that it was suspending its money transfer services effective Monday, August 24.

JNMS, a subsidiary of the Jamaica National Building Society, operates two money transfer branches and a network of nine agents in the Cayman Islands. The company says it "manages a very significant percentage of remittances from Cayman to Jamaica, and also to the Philippines".

In a statement last week, JNMS advised of the switch to US-dollar-only transactions - the local currency is the CI dollar - saying it would facilitate the continuation of remittance services.

"We have also taken this decision in light of the changing environment, which has affected access to banking services for money transfer operators in Cayman," Kow said in the release.

In 2014, Cayman residents sent US$6.49 million abroad. Jamaica received US$951,000, second only to the United States, to which about US$3 million was sent, according to CIMA data.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com