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Banks must move beyond financing – JN’s Martin

Published:Friday | October 18, 2019 | 12:11 AMChristopher Serju/Gleaner Writer

A senior banker has recommended that banks and other financial institutions must move beyond simply providing financing and, instead, get in the habit of educating and clarifying issues for persons in the productive sector.

The recommendation came from Managing Director of the Jamaica National Bank, Curtis Martin, during his recent address to the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association (JMEA) Banquet and Awards Ceremony at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.

“We recognise that many persons in the sector do not always understand the various forces at play in the marketplace and, therefore, that lack of understanding sometimes creates unnecessary panic, which can result in undue burden for manufacturers, exporters and, of course, on consumers. And this impacts positive economic activity and growth,” Martin admitted.

The JN executive noted that issues such as high interest rates are no longer major challenges for Jamaican manufacturers and businesses in the export sector, as interest rates have been reduced significantly. However, continued volatility of the foreign exchange environment continues to be a source of confusion for many in the sector, resulting in foreign exchange losses, thereby inhibiting the ability of many businesses to plan.

Knowledge for preparation

“At JN Bank, we hope to deepen our relationship with the JMEA to provide much more than the capital you need to do business. We also want to provide you with knowledge.”

To this end, Martin said the bank planned to enlighten business operators about some of the market forces at work, with the aim of creating an understanding of the dynamics at play, “so that you can plan and prepare, because the less time you have to spend worrying about uncertainties, the more you can spend in your business strategising about how to improve production and to position your entities to thrive.

“Beyond that, research and development are also another important part of the knowledge base that manufacturers and exporters need to develop and invest in, to improve innovation and competitiveness. And we are prepared to have a conversation with you about how we can support our manufacturers in this area,” he assured.