JN MoneyShop opens opportunities for Tivoli residents
TIVOLI GARDENS has been making headlines based on the current commission of enquiry being conducted about events which took place in the community in 2010.
And, generally, when most people speak about Tivoli, the reference is often in terms of: violence, dons, murder and extortion, which are just some of the words that the west Kingston community has become synonymous with.
Having a long history of violent flare-ups, the community has also received an overwhelming amount of media exposure locally and overseas, reinforcing elements that paint permanent stains on the reputation of community members.
However, beyond what persons outside of the community see, and beneath the pain and hopelessness that residents feel, at times, there is a deep-rooted sense of survival and a richly engrained culture emboldened by hope, which residents have in common, allowing them to make the best of their situation.
Serving The 'Un-Banked'
Yet, when Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) decided to pioneer its community banking model in 2004, Tivoli Gardens was selected as one of the best, yet most unlikely location, to launch the first JN MoneyShop, in order to serve the 'un-banked'.
Located along Spanish Town Road in the midst of Tivoli Gardens, catering to residents of west Kingston, the presence of the Tivoli MoneyShop has been instrumental to many community members taking a more traditional route to save, access remittances and other banking services.
Kelly-Ann Whittingham, operations support officer, Tivoli MoneyShop, says the residents have been overwhelmingly receptive to the services offered at the location, particularly as it relates to savings and remittances.
"Tivoli residents enjoy the convenient location and extended opening hours. They are really in their own community when they come here, based on where we are located. And, they are very appreciative, because the MoneyShop brought banking into their community and have granted them easy access."
She noted that, to date, the location, which has a record of approximately 4,000 deposit accounts, has received a significant portion of deposits through its Partna Plan saving product.
"This works like the typical partner, which many Jamaicans are familiar with. However, the biggest advantage is that residents are saving with a legitimate financial institution, which means that their money is safe; they enjoy privacy; and are guaranteed their savings at the end of the contractual period without any fees," Whittingham emphasised.
Donna Haughton, an office supervisor and a resident of Tivoli Gardens, says the Tivoli MoneyShop, has influenced many residents to use more traditional ways of saving to enable them to live a more comfortable life.
"Of course, there is some truth to persons not necessarily embracing the banks to save and would rather keep the money at home, or throw partner in the traditional manner; but, more persons are open to saving in a safer environment, because of the convenience of being able to make a deposit or withdrawal at a location in their community," Haughton explained.
She pointed out, "Many residents in Tivoli are working people and self-employed; therefore, you find that when they receive funds, they feel more secure walking over to the MoneyShop to make a deposit. You have persons working in the market, hairdressers, barbers and other vendors, who really appreciate the easy access to the facility."
Located on a main thoroughfare, Spanish Town Road, the MoneyShop is also accessible to other passers-by and those working or doing business in the community. Miss Haughton, who has been with the MoneyShop since its inception, says, as an avid saver, she has reaped rewards.
"Savings is one of the best ways to reach your goals, and I can say this because it is my savings why I was able to invest in my house by expanding it. I have travelled and lived abroad; but I decided to return home to Tivoli mainly because of my mother, who still lives here. And, since I am here, I just used my money to make my living situation as comfortable as possible, thanks to my JN savings."
Since its inception in 2007, the JN MoneyShop network now has 19 locations across the island, offering convenient banking with flexible opening hours, including Saturday banking, and bill payment and remittance services.