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JMMB invites Jamaicans to switch banks, promises ‘no nuisance fees’

Published:Tuesday | September 26, 2017 | 12:00 AMAvia Collinder
Jerome Smalling, CEO of JMMB Bank.

JMMB Bank, the newest entrant and one of the smallest commercial banks is making an aggressive push for market one month into its market debut with an invitation to switch, and a promise to tamp down on fees.

The invitation issued via email to the clients already doing business with other companies inside the JMMB Group urged them to "complete a pre-authorisation form, which includes your current bank account information (i.e. the bank from which you would like to switch)".

JMMB would then send the form to the rival bank "for an ACH transfer, standing order or one-time transfer of funds" to effect the switch.

Before JMMB Bank transitioned to the commercial banking sector, it was the top operator in the merchant banking market, where the deposit base amounted to $22.5 billion, and it accounted for nearly $20 billion or 92 per cent of the total.

The commercial banking sector, however, is exponentially larger with deposits of around $775 billion - but in this arena, JMMB Bank is ranked at No. 7 of eight banks, and it controls just 2.5 per cent of the deposit base.

The bank did not respond to queries up to press time on the what share of the market it is targeting.

Part of its strategy is to position as a "low or no fee" operation, which, it appears, is meant to tease business away from the big banks that consistently come under public criticism for multiple transaction fees that generates billions in income for them.

"At JMMB, we are committed to only charging fees for value-added services," said the emailed invitation. "JMMB has a simple philosophy about fees we believe in no nuisance fees."

The bank has issued a new fee schedule dated October 2017.

JMMB's commercial banking services, in addition to investments, insurance brokerage and money transfer services, are now offered at Knutsford Boulevard and Haughton Avenue in New Kingston; Portmore in St Catherine; Ocho Rios in St Ann; Mandeville, Manchester; and Church Street in Montego Bay.

The bank, headed by CEO Jerome Smalling, has upgraded its online banking system, Moneyline, enabling bill payments to more than 40 billing companies, including all major utilities; transfer money to other local and international bank accounts; transfer money between JMMB Bank accounts and JMMB Investments accounts; make payments to loan accounts; transfer funds in real time, and buy and sell foreign exchange online.

It has also eliminated its 14-day hold on deposits, allowing instant access to cash in savings and chequing accounts.