Wed | Aug 4, 2021

Business Briefs

Published:Wednesday | July 21, 2021 | 12:12 AM

● Blake elected president of bankers association

Septimus ‘Bob’ Blake, CEO of National Commercial Bank Jamaica, has been elected president of the Jamaica Bankers Association, succeeding Jerome Smalling of JMMB Bank Jamaica.

Blake's executive will include President and CEO of First Global Bank Mariame McIntosh-Robinson as vice-president, Citibank Jamaica Country Manager Eva Lewis as treasurer, and Managing Director of CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank Jamaica Nigel Holness as secretary. The new administration was voted into office at the Jamaica Bankers Association’s annual general meeting on July 15. The organisation represents commercial banks, merchant banks and building societies in Jamaica.

● Annual inflation decelerates in June to 4.3%

June Consumer prices increased by 0.7 per cent in June, sending annual inflation to 4.3 per cent, the Statistical Institute of Jamaica has reported. A month earlier annual inflation was tracking at 5 per cent. The main contributor to inflation in June was higher food prices, which rose almost two per cent, but Statin also noted that price spikes for ‘restaurant and accommodation services’, which was up nearly six per cent, and ‘transport’ which ticked up by 0.4 per cent, also put upward press on inflation.

Food is heavily weighted in the basket of consumer items tracked by Statin and, therefore, has a bigger impact on inflation. Prices for housing and utilities declined in the period, due to lower utility rates, helping to offset some of the increases. Prices for ‘other fuels’ also fell.

● Harding picked for TEDx talk in London

Jamaican investor Zachary Harding has been selected to do a TEDx talk titled The Dancehall CEO, at Aston University in London in September. TEDx is a community version of the globally focused TED talks. Harding – who leads Stocks & Securities Limited as Group CEO and is co-founder of Delta Capital Partners and has a track record that spans the entertainment industry, investment, various private sector jobs and public sector roles – will expound on his proprietary model for strategic/intuitive decision-making, known as the C.A.R.E. Decision Making Model.

● JMMB Bank upgrades to smart ATMs

JMMB Bank Jamaica s rolling out a series of smart banking machines, or ATMs, nationwide, which will facilitate large cash deports, real-time updates on client accounts, immediate access to cash deposited, and faster transactions using the JMMB Bank Visa debit tap card, among other banking services. Neither the number of machines to be deployed nor the investment in the upgrades was disclosed, but JMMB Bank said the new machines would be installed in the coming weeks and that in preparation for the rollout, select ATMs in its network would either provide limited services or be temporarily out of service.

● World Bank issues US$185m cat bond for Jamaica

The World Bank, through its lending arm, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, or IBRD, has issued a US$185-million catastrophe bond that will finance recovery for Jamaica from storms for three seasons up to December 2023.

Payouts will be triggered if the country is not only hit by a storm but suffers damage of the scope laid out in the cat bond.

The World Bank says the bonds were issued under IBRD’s ‘capital at risk’ notes programme, “which can be used to transfer risks related to natural disasters and other risks from developing countries to the capital markets”.

Jamaica previously benefited from the IBRD’s very first cat bond in 2014, but only indirectly, as one of the 16 policyholder governments in the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility, known as CCRIF, that the bond was used to back. With this US$185m facility, Jamaica becomes the first government in the Caribbean and the first small island state to independently sponsor a cat bond, the World Bank said.