First Global Bank launches Jamaica's first agent banking facility
Finance and the Public Service Minister Dr Nigel Clarke yesterday officially opened Jamaica’s first agent banking facility, which is operated by GraceKennedy (GK) Group subsidiary – First Global Bank (FGB) at the Boulevard Supercentre on Washington Boulevard, St Andrew.
The launch is consistent with the Government’s Financial Inclusion Strategy, which is aimed at expanding access by persons and businesses to affordable and convenient financial products and services.
Agency banking is where a commercial bank appoints a third party (agent) to transact business on its behalf, such as deposits and withdrawals, payment of bills and loan repayments, electronic transfer of funds, among other things.
Clarke said that the facility will serve residents and other stakeholders in the communities of Pembroke Hall, Duhaney Park, Maverley, Hughenden, Patrick City and Washington Gardens, particularly First Global clients who normally have to go to Ligaunea, Cross Roads or downtown Kingston to conduct business.
“With agent banking now opened here (at the Boulevard Supercentre)… this will allow for much broader coverage and improved access for customers and will help us to diversify the base of persons who have access. Agent banking is a win-win for (all) the parties involved,” the finance minister contended.
Clarke noted that the Government is keen on seeing the expansion of agent banking, which is deemed pivotal to Jamaica’s growth and development.
FGB, which acquired the island’s first agent banking licence earlier this year, has appointed Stapharm Services Limited as its representative.
Stapharm, which is headed by the father-daughter team of Patrick and Tanya Brissett, operates GraceKennedy’s flagship Bill Express/Western Union/FX Trader services outlet at the Boulevard Supercentre.
GraceKennedy Group Chief Executive Officer Senator Don Wehby said that agent banking is another GK Group innovation and is consistent with the company’s mandate of actively participating in and supporting the Government’s financial inclusion thrust.
Agent banking was introduced under the Banking Services Act 2014, and the accompanying Regulations in 2016.