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Mobile exchange - Lasco operates Jamaica's only drive-thru cambio

Published:Sunday | November 25, 2012 | 12:00 AM
A customer goes through the drive-through cambio facility. - Photo by Sheldon Williams

Sheldon Williams, Gleaner Writer

It has been almost a year since Lasco Financial Services launched Jamaica's first - and only - drive-through cambio at its 29 Red Hills Road, St Andrew, head office. Marketing officer at the location, Matthew Blake, attributed Lasco's ability to facilitate the cambio to the size of its premises, which proved the competitive edge eventually resulting in their monopoly of the niche drive-through market.

"We opened the cambio in 2004 at Red Hills Road as we found it to be a convenient corridor to do business. Our analysis of the market showed that no other cambio in Kingston had ample parking arrangements and thus our location would satisfy this unmet need for cambio customers," Blake said.

emphasised that the typical processing time for a drive-through cambio
customer is approximately four minutes. He explained that customers
simply drive up to the window where the current exchange rates are
displayed on a whiteboard. They then move the vehicle forward and, on
the right, an interface screen displays an image of the teller.
Customers can then have dialogue with the teller about the

"It's a two-way interface, so the teller
can see them from where they are inside the cambio and they can look on
their screen and see the teller. The customer would say, for example, I
want to change US$500 today and the teller would say OK," Blake

"The teller then sends down a canister that
flies down through a chute. The customer counts out the money so that
the teller can see and then puts it in the canister and sends it up back
and the customer can actually see when the teller receives it, opens
it, counts it back, verifies it through the microphone and the customer
confirms, (then the teller) changes it to Jamaican dollars if that's
what the customer wants and sends it back and the customer counts

A power cut does not affect transaction. "If
light goes, the UPS maintains things for a while and then the generator
kicks in, so unless the generator goes down, we won't have an issue,"
Blake said.

Limited access

Blake said the company does not necessarily attract more drive-through
than walk-in customers " Our drive-through is limited to persons doing
transactions valued at US$750 or less. This allows for smooth and speedy
transactions," he outlined. He added that, on average, only about 10
per cent of customers use the drive-through.

The most
evident advantage to drive-through customers is "getting to transact
business in the comfort and privacy of their vehicles. This allows them
to relax and feel even more secure in the confines of their motor
vehicles." Blake added that there is adequate internal and external
security to keep customers feeling secure.

As a
measure of customer satisfaction being maintained, even in the absence
of competition, Blake said, "our cambio transactions have grown year
over year and our drive-through transactions continually grow month over
month". At the same time, he admitted that there are no immediate plans
to open drive-through cambios at other Lasco outlets but hinted that he
anticipates an increase in drive-through activity as the festive season

The Lasco Drive-Thru Cambio is open
Mondays to Fridays from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m.-4