JNBS updates members on commercial bank conversion
The Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) says it has been meeting with its membership to update them on the proposed changes to convert the society to a commercial bank and reorganise the JN Group, ahead of November 14 special general meeting (SGM) when members will make a final decision.
JNBS met formally with its members in Westmoreland, Manchester and St James in Jamaica; Toronto, Canada; and New York in the United States, during events earlier this month, where several members have been submitting their decisions by special proxy forms.
The forms allow them to assign someone else, such as the chairman or general manager of JNBS, to cast votes on their behalf, if they are unable to attend the November 14 SGM.
The society has been making the forms available via the JN VOTES webpage on its website, www.jnbs.com/jnvotes, in its branches and MoneyShops, and in booklets distributed to members.
The completed forms can be returned to branches and MoneyShops by email or mailed to the JNBS corporate secretary.
JNBS will next meet with its members in London and Birmingham in the UK; Florida in the USA, and Kingston before the SGM.
Although buoyed by the proposed changes, several members pressed for a guarantee that the society's core values would be maintained in the new structure and that the organisation would not be introducing high fees.
"These values are non-negotiable," Maureen Hayden Cater, executive, JNBS, assured the membership in her address.
"As your JN Bank, we will be maintaining our focus on you, providing products and services founded on the JN values you know and embrace," she said.
She underscored that as a commercial bank, JN will not be focused on fees.
"As one of your many benefits, we will continue to rely on our existing model, which provides you with the best banking products and services at significantly lower costs to you, as well as lower lending rates, with the same JN hospitality that you have banked on for more than 14 decades."
The information was met with satisfaction from members attending the meetings.
"As we move through this transition stage, I can only say we have come a long way, and together, we can continue to move forward," said Lorretta Graham, a 50-year member of the society in Westmoreland.
"Tomorrow is gone, today is here, and we are poised for better things. Therefore, as we work together and give our support, we can expect better days," she affirmed.
Under the proposed changes, which were approved by the minister of finance a year ago, JN will remain a mutual organisation, which means it will continue to be owned by members.
In the proposed structure, their mutual rights will be preserved in a new mutual holding company, which will own all the entities in the restructure JN Group.
JN will separate its non-financial and financial companies, for regulatory purposes, into two sub-holding companies, which will both be owned by the mutual holding company.
JNBS is the largest building society in Jamaica, and operates representative offices in the United Kingdom, the US and Canada.
As at March 31, 2016, the society held assets of $134.7 billion, making it the third largest licensed deposit-taking institution in Jamaica.
It is the parent company of JN Small Business Loans Limited, JN General Insurance Company Limited, JN Fund Managers Limited, JN Life Insurance Company Limited, JN Money Services Limited, Management Control Systems Limited, The Jamaica Automobile Association (Services) Limited, and JN Cayman, among other subsidiaries in the JN Group.