Tue | Jul 23, 2019

VM Money Transfer Services expanding to Old Harbour

Published:Sunday | May 19, 2019 | 12:12 AMMcPherse Thompson - Assistant Editor-Business
Michael Howard, CEO of VMBS Money Transfer Services speaks at the opening of the VM Money Express location at Market Street, Montego Bay on April 25, 2019.

With Old Harbour in St Catherine experiencing one of the highest population growth rates in Jamaica, Victoria Mutual Money Transfer Services perceives it an opportune time to expand its footprint with the opening of a branch in that area.

“Our research and customer ­feedback have led us to Old Harbour. What we found out is that persons living in and around Old Harbour have had to be travelling far distances for ­money-transfer ­services,” said VM Money Transfer Services CEO Michael Howard via email.

“That, coupled with the expected growth of the community, makes it a prime location for a full-service VM Money Express,” he added.

Howard said that Victoria Mutual has acquired a long-term lease for the Old Harbour branch, which will be a full-service Money Express location at the Glendon Court Plaza in the heart of the town.

“This means that we will be offering ­money-transfer services, bill-payment services, courier pick-up and drop-off services,” he said, adding that “in the future, we plan to start offering FX trading as well as some other exciting and innovative financial services”.

The new branch will begin operations this summer, staffed by four full-time team members.

“We expect to serve our existing customers in and around Old Harbour who have been calling for us to open a full-service location in the area,” he said.

It will be become the fourth VM Money Express location in Jamaica. The first outlet in Spanish Town, St Catherine, opened in 2017; the second in Meadowbrook, Kingston, last year; and the third at Market Street, Montego Bay, in April.

“This is a model that we plan to replicate across Jamaica,” Howard added.

VM Money Transfer Service’s international partners are Xoom, Ria, MoneyGram, World Remit, Choice Money Transfer, NCS eMoney Services, Xpress Money, National Housing Trust for contribution refunds only, and Sigue Money Transfer.

Victoria Mutual will be competing with financial services providers such as Scotiabank, National Commercial Bank, JN Bank, and GraceKennedy Remittance Services Limited, the exclusive agent of Western Union Financial Services in Jamaica, which already has a ­presence in the area.

Major housing developments have been contributing to the Old Harbour area, having one of the highest population growth rates in Jamaica, according to the draft report of an environmental impact assessment by Environmental Solutions Limited for a new housing development in the area.

The report quoted data from the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) which showed that in 1991, the population of Old Harbour was 17,966, and based on a population census, that grew to an estimated 23,610 by 2011. The nearby Old Harbour Bay community had an estimated population in 2011 of 5,870 people.

With major housing developments, the PIOJ has projected an estimated population for Old Harbour of 146,300 by 2020 and 20,565 Old Harbour Bay by the same date.

mcpherse.thompson@gleanerjm.com