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Jamaica National moves to leverage JPS collection points
published: Friday | November 28, 2008

In this Gleaner photo, Earl Jarrett (right), general manager of Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) and Damian Obiglio, president and CEO of the Jamaica Public Service Company Limited, unveil the new logo for the JN Money Shop Xpress stores during the official launch of the JN/JPS partnership, February 2008, Terra Nova hotel, Kingston. - File

Jamaica National, the financial services group, intends to widen the range of services it offers to customers at the bill collection points it runs for the light and power company.

But JN's boss says it first has to receive the green light from its regulator, the Bank of Jamaica, before moving ahead with the plan.

"You need BOJ approval for each location at which you want to do things," said JN's general manager, Earl Jarrett.

"We are awaiting their approval."

Initially a building society, JN's business now includes funds management, insurance and money transfer and bill collection.

In February, it replaced Paymaster Limited as the collection agency for Jamaica Public Service, the light and power distributor, at JPS' 16 commercial offices. Paymaster at the time argued that it was impossible to make money on the margins paid by JPS per transaction at the locations.

Workable strategy

However, Jarrett appeared to have fleshed out a workable strategy when he spoke at a function organised by a subsidiary that lends to small and micro enterprises - JN Small Business Loans Limited.

The idea, it seems, is to leverage the locations by expanding the services offered to people who come to the JPS locations to pay their electricity bills, thereby expanding its customer base.

The expectation, apparently, is that this could be achieved at these locations at lower overheads.

The facilities at the JPS offices would operate under JN's Money Shop Xpress marquee - small, colourful, storefront type operations where JN's customers can pay their mortgages and other bills as well as collect and remit cash.

New locations

Already, customers can pay bills at the JN locations other than those for the light and power company.

"We want to add other financial services," Jarrett told the Financial Gleaner. "We want to roll these out over time."

Phillip Bernard, JN's general manager of community banking said the mutual expected to use the JPS collection outlet in Montego Bay as a pilot for the project.

"We have applied to the regulatory body for approval to collect remittances," Bernard said.

"As far as collections on behalf of Jamaica National, that is something we will have to negotiate with Bank of Jamaica."

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