Wed | Apr 1, 2020

Access Financial gives up cambio licence

Published:Sunday | January 5, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Marcus James, chief executive officer of Access Financial Services.-File

Chief executive officer of Access Financial Services, Marcus James, said the company has surrendered its cambio licence and closed the operation because of the high security risks involved in running the enterprise.

On Friday, the Bank of Jamaica issued a notice via an advertisement that the licence had been surrendered on a voluntary basis, effective December 30, 2013.

Contacted on Friday, James told Sunday Business that Access had not been affected by the closure of cambio accounts at National Commercial Bank (NCB) and that the decision to surrender the licence was uni-laterally made.

"It did not account for a significant portion of our revenue," James said. "We believed that the risks involved did not warrant the return," he added.

He said the funds previously deployed in operating the cambio at 41B Half-Way Tree Road, St Andrew, will now be invested in other business lines.

In October last year, NCB announced it would be closing most accounts held by cambios within three months.

It said that having concluded an internal assessment, it made the decision to exit most relationships with persons holding licences to operate cambios "in order to ensure that we employ a solid governance structure and operate within a robust compliance framework".

NCB said the decision was taken in light of "globally recognised exposure to money laundering and terrorist-financing risks associated with these businesses and the extensive effort required to continue managing those risks while providing the services required going forward".

Access is a 13-year-old com-pany which went public in 2009. It was the second junior market company to announce a bond float via the Jamaica Stock Exchange, the proceeds of which were targeted for investment in its primary business of making loans.

The company, up to June 2013, was cash positive, with J$37 million of holdings. Revenue for the last financial year was J$634 million.

Access, which targets small and medium-sized enterprises, claims an eightfold growth in its loan book over its lifetime.