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BOJ says remittance companies must display inbound, outbound rates

Published:Friday | November 8, 2019 | 12:22 AMKaryl Walker/Gleaner Writer

Bank of Jamaica
Bank of Jamaica

Despite regulations implemented by the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) requiring that remittance companies display inbound and outbound rates for transactions, recent checks have shown that some companies are flouting the rules.

The BOJ rules require that conversion rates be conspicuously displayed at every authorised location.

“This is clearly indicated in Paragraph 10.2 of the operating directions issued to remittance companies with each licence. Compliance with all operating directions is a condition of the licence issued to each remittance company,” the BOJ’s Noel Greenland told The Gleaner via email.

Inbound and outbound rates

However, companies such as Western Union do not display the inbound and outbound rates for the US dollar at their locations.

At some locations, there are signs indicating that those rates are determined by which US state the transfer is being sent to or received from.

When contacted, GraceKennedy Money Services Ltd (GKMS), the exclusive agent for Western Union in Jamaica, said the rates were not decided locally.

“The payout rate is determined solely by Western Union International and is decided daily,” the company stated through Yolande Gyles-Levy, GKMS communication and sponsorship manager.

There was, however, no mention of why the daily rates are not displayed.

A recent visit to the Jamaica National Money Transfer location at the Half-Way Tree Bus Park, revealed that the inbound rate for the US dollar was missing, but the outbound rate was on full display.

Jamaica National’s General Manager for Money Services, Horace Hines, said it was not the general practice of the company not to display the inbound and outbound US dollar rates.

“That is not our practice. We have a centralised treasury that deals with trading. Our practice is one rate for the US dollar. The inbound rate. We always give the whole value of the rate that the customer is sent,” he said.

At a Money Gram located in Half-Way Tree, both the inbound and outbound rates for the US dollar was in full display.

Greenland said that the exchange rates used by the companies are solely their purview.

“Bank of Jamaica does not regulate the exchange rate or conversion rate used by remittance companies in conducting inbound and outbound transfers. This is in the context of a fully liberalised foreign exchange market,” Greenland’s email stated.