Sun | Nov 29, 2020

JN launches UK bank

Published:Sunday | October 11, 2020 | 12:11 AMKarena Bennett - Business Reporter

JN Bank, which on Thursday launched its United Kingdom digital banking arm, JN Bank UK, plans on rolling out a suite of services targeted at the unbanked to grow its client base in the UK.

On a wider scale, British High Commissioner to Jamaica Asif Ahmad reckons that the launch of the digital bank, which has been two years in the making, could serve a larger client base if Caribbean banks tap into JN’s correspondent banking services to offer their services in the UK.

“That basically means that JN could be the bank to the banks. It creates an opportunity for banks in the Caribbean and that way the risk will be insured,” Ahmad said.

JN received its UK banking licence on December 12, 2019, banking licence in the United Kingdom that will both allow the bank to do business there and provide cross-border banking services to group members.

Not only is the licence seen as a first for a regional bank, but JN Group’s expansion into commercial banking in the UK offers a solution to the correspondent banking issues faced by Caribbean institutions that have been dropped by their UK partners, as a means of shedding risk.

It’s unclear what level of investment JN has made to kick-start its banking operation or the size of the bank, as the group said it was still working to address specific queries from the Financial Gleaner.

The institution, which is chaired by former Bank of England senior adviser, Ian Marshall, OBE, and has as its chief executive officer Dean Fensome, former CEO of The Holmesdale Building Society, will initially offer retail savings and personal loan products, targeting the Caribbean community, as well as the wider UK market.

“It’s interesting to note that the UK financial inclusion banking report 2018/19 declares that in 2017, 1.3 million people in the UK were unbanked. This is unacceptable and with our effort, we hope that over time we can help to be a part of the solution to that process,” Earl Jarrett, chief executive officer of the Jamaica National Group, said during the launch.

JN Group currently stands as the largest mortgage lender in the local private market, has moved to address financial inclusion in Jamaica by adjusting its account opening process, extended opening hours and bringing more of its services online.

JN Bank UK is a digital bank with one flagship branch in Brixton, South London.

“By offering banking services via digital channels that are safe, easy to use and understand, we are really looking forward to expanding our customer base to the wider UK market,” he added.

The bank is a separate entity from the UK Representative Office which JN has been operating for the past 32 years. JN’s Representative Office will continue to provide services to Jamaicans in the UK who have accounts with JN Bank in Jamaica.

JN Bank UK Limited is a subsidiary of the Jamaica National Group, a mutually owned conglomerate operating in Jamaica for 146 years. Its regulators include the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

JN Group also operates its remittance member company, JN Money Services, in the UK and has operations in several overseas markets, including the UK, Canada, the United States of America and the Cayman Islands.

karena.bennett@gleanerjm.com