Mon | Aug 21, 2017

VM developing chain of money shops

Published:Friday | February 24, 2017 | 2:00 AMTameka Gordon
Michael Howard, CEO of VM Money Transfer Services Limited.

VM Money Transfer Services Limited (VMTS), a subsidiary of the Victoria Mutual Building Society, has opened its first brick-and-mortar outlet under a planned build out of a chain of money shops.

VMTS Chief Executive Officer Michael Howard told the Financial Gleaner that the company, which previously only operated through agent locations, is to add other outlets throughout the year.

Howard was, however, tight-lipped on the locations now being scouted, citing competition in the market.

The investment to set up the outlet ran into the millions, he said, but again declined to specify the capital expenditure.

Located at Heritage Mall in Spanish Town, St Catherine, the new VM Money Express Shop will complement the existing VMTS subagent network islandwide, the mortgage banking group said it in media release.

The decision to add the outlet came after market research, which Howard said highlighted a need to better deliver the services provided by the money-transfer outfit.

"What we realised is that some of our subagents have challenges in acquiring cash and having cash all the time. Because some of them are supermarkets and hardware stores, it's also not the safest of locations for the customers. So, we decided to open locations that are considered very safe and convenient," he said.

Customer feedback

Over the years, customer feedback also indicated the company needed to create additional distribution channels "for us to be better able to provide more of the services they require," VMTS said in its release.

VMTS operates from 70 locations 55 subagent locations and 15 which are branches of the building society.

The VMTS Spanish Town outlet opened as a pilot on January 23 and will be the model on which the upcoming locations are fashioned.

"The response from the Spanish Town residents has been excellent, to date. We have now moved to being officially open and the next move is to expand our VM Money Express outlets in the next few weeks," Howard said.

Three staff members have been added to man the location, Howard said, though five can be accommodated. "So we have room for growth where that is concerned," he added.

The Money Express Shops will offer cambio services, retail distribution of phone cards, distribution of government payments, and agency banking, which allows customers to do deposits and withdrawals, among other services, Howard said.

VMTS became a MoneyGram agent in 2015, a service that the money shops will provide.

The official opening of the Spanish Town location will be done in partnership with MoneyGram International, VMTS said.

tameka.gordon@gleanerjm.com