Victoria Mutual rebrands to VM Group
Victoria Mutual, whose core business is mortgage lending, has rebranded officially as VM Group in the midst of a five-year transformation programme to recognise the diversity of services the financial house now provides.
The change comes at VM’s 143rd year in business, having grown over time from being just a building society to incorporate functions such as remittances, wealth management, pension fund management, stockbroking, securities trading, property management, and most recently fintech services.
VM Group President & CEO Courtney Campbell said the transformation began in 2019, when external consultants started working with the group to understand the messaging that was necessary. In addition, they took a hard look at the products and services that needed to be prioritised.
“We actually signed off on the new brand elements at the end of 2019, and this involved both the executive team and the board. But with COVID and the prevalence of uncertainty in everything, from financials to gathering and so on, we decided to put a hold on that,” he said.
Victoria Mutual Group, according to Campbell, used the time to refine its plans, and do the necessary technological and physical changes that would assist the transformation. The programme also includes a new logo and signage, repainted buildings, and multichannel advertisements.
VM has invested over $2 billion in effecting technological transformation that’s geared at improving customer experience and engagement, Campbell said.
The first branch to be formally unveiled with the new logo was VM Building Society at Half-Way Tree, Kingston, on Wednesday.
The group’s main colour has changed from burgundy to grapefruit; while the logo has been changed from the ‘encircled VM’ to connecting letters.
“What the logo represents is the idea of continuity. The new ‘V’ and ‘M’ together look like a pulse-reading. We’re saying we’re all on a journey together, and we’re the pulse of Jamaica as we partner with our members and our clients,” Campbell said.
The name has now been simplified from Victoria Mutual to VM Group, while the tagline is now ‘Transform your Everyday’, to encompass both personal and business customers.
“It’s to ensure that people are properly prepared for retirement or have a strong investment portfolio; have their own homes; and if they have a business, that it can grow to the next level from wherever it is — be it small, medium or large corporate,” Campbell said.
“We see ourselves as caring experts. We believe that we have the experience and the capacity to improve the lives of Jamaicans everywhere.” he told the Financial Gleaner. “It is important that our clients no longer see us as individual business line-focussed, but rather, as totally integrated.”
VM’s staff are expected to acculturate to the group culture, under one brand, but rebranding does not affect the operational lines of demarcation among VM’s various subsidiary companies, the group president said.
Asked whether VM is considering going the route of becoming a commercial bank, Campbell downplayed the idea, saying it is not a priority at this time since the building society, its flagship operation, provides nearly all banking services, the exception being chequing accounts.
Pressed further about the likely operational deficiencies inherent in not having a banking licence, such as not being part of the clearing house system for processing cheques and funds transfers, Campbell disclosed that the company had recently been admitted into the central bank’s ACH, or Automated Clearing House system.
Apart from using notes and coins, Jamaican banks move funds around using either ACH, where sums of money are moved around in batches, or the faster but more expensive real-time gross settlement system branded as JamClear. The system allows members of the public to do transfers or make payments without ever setting foot in a banking hall.