Sun | Oct 2, 2022

Dunn cautions against exposing senior citizens to online financial risk

Published:Monday | August 15, 2022 | 12:05 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
Dr Norman Dunn, minister of state in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce.
Dr Norman Dunn, minister of state in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce.

WESTERN BUREAU:

DR NORMAN Dunn, state minister in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, has cautioned Gateway Co-operative Credit Union against any plans that will marginalise or expose senior citizens to financial risk, as they seek to roll out their online banking facilities.

The five-year-old financial institution, which was established in 2017 through a merger between Montego Co-operative Credit Union and Hanover Credit Union – as part of their technological upgrade – has indicated that they will be offering online banking services soon.

“With the push for online services, the push for ATMs, I would urge Gateway that you have to remember the persons who cannot access the digital platform,” Dr Dunn said last Thursday while delivering the keynote address at the Gateway Co-operative Credit Union’s annual general meeting, at the Noel Fraser Auditorium, West Jamaica Conference, in Mount Salem, St James.

“Credit unions are people movement and therefore as you seek to roll these out, bear in mind that you have grandmothers, grandfathers and a number of persons who hold dearly their private information and sometimes you see them at the ATMs and they have to ask somebody (for assistance) or they send a relative,” he said.

STRONGER THAN BEFORE

The state minister noted that in many cases senior citizens don’t want their relatives to know about their business, but they are forced to share because of the push for the banking sector to operate in the digital economy.

Dunn said ways must be found towards embracing persons who are not up to date with the new technologies, especially seniors.

Home Banking, a self-help portal, ATM, and the provision of a debit Mastercard to facilitate local and international transactions, number among the services Gateway, the country’s sixth largest credit union, is seeking to roll out.

In an earlier address, Pastor Glenroy Clarke, president of the board of directors at Gateway Co-operative Credit Union, said the financial institution continues to use technology to drive its business and make it more convenient.

He noted that because of technology the prospects are great for making Gateway the financial institution of choice.

“As we move into 2022, I believe Gateway is stronger than before. We are aiming to use technology to significantly drive our business to remain efficient at all levels and to remain agile and resilient, as we navigate the coming years,” Clarke said.

Although he is supportive of the move by the credit union to embrace technology and their push to operate on the digital platform, Dr Dunn warned against any push that will eliminate face-to-face interaction with senior citizens.

“As you consider and contemplate that (online services), please remember those persons and how they can be as inclusive as possible because in most cases they are your members,” he said. “As you seek to offer online banking, remember the senior citizens who are not yet inclined to the technological landscape.”

albert.ferguson@gleanerjm.com