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Mozido appeals to politicos for action on mobile banking

Published:Wednesday | February 27, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Kavin Hewitt, CEO of Mozido Jamaica.

Gregory Corona, president and chief executive officer of Mozido LLC, has reached out to two top administration officials to run interference for his company with the Bank of Jamaica over a mobile banking deal with the credit union league that has been stalled by regulatory review.

Texas-based Mozido operates a local subsidiary, Mozido Jamaica, managed by Kavin Hewitt.

Corona has penned a letter to Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Anthony Hylton, copied to Minister of Finance Dr Peter Phillips, among others, complaining of inequities in the regulation of the business environment.

The company's angst relates to delays in approvals for an e-payment service, JCUES, developed by Mozido for the Jamaica Cooperative Credit Union League.

BOJ last year derailed the launch of the product last March, saying it was a mobile banking service requiring the central bank's sign-off.

Corona says the US$3 million spent by his company to date setting up business in Jamaica is being put at risk.

Preferential treatment

He made reference to another mobile money project, a micro-finance loan programme being tested by the Development Bank of Jamaica, which Mozido said got approval from BOJ while its own JCUES platform remains in limbo.

"It is obvious that the regulators are giving preferential treatment and a distinct advantage to certain entities in the case of the technology company - Transcel and the commercial Bank - NCB," said Corona's letter.

Transcel and NCB are partners with DBJ on the so-called M3 project.

Hylton was said to be travelling overseas when Wednesday Business sought comment, while the BOJ has said previously it is prepared to grant an interview on JCUES at a later, unspecified date.

Mozido provided the technology for the JCUES platform, but the full nature of the partnership with JCCUL has not been detailed.

It appears that the deal included residual income for Mozido although Corona declined to explain how payments were to be received from the JCCUL.

"As is expected with any true strategic relationship, the parties share the risks and rewards," he said.

BOJ has not met with the parties, "despite several requests", nor has the central bank communicated the status of its review, Corona said.

He told Wednesday Business that Mozido has lost approximately one year projected revenue that had been provisioned from the JCUES service - the programmed implementation date was March 2012 - while the local subsidiary still has to meet its lease payments on office space in New Kingston and pay salaries for both the local and international personnel, some of whom were brought on board as early as June 2011 specifically for this project.

The JCUES project was supposed to be the start of Mozido's Caribbean roll-out.

Corona has requested a meeting with Hylton. The Jamaican CEO redirected all queries on the issue to Corona.