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VMBS establishes tiny presence in Florida

Published:Wednesday | April 21, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Suzette Rochester, manager of VMBS Florida Representative Office, cuts the ribbon to the new office in Miami Gardens. Richard K. Powell, president and CEO of Victoria Mutual Building Society is at centre and Vivienne Bayley-Hay, vice-president, group marketing & corporate affairs at right. - Contributed

Victoria Mutual Building Society (VMBS) has expanded its overseas office network to the United States, opening a small office last month in Miami Gardens, Florida.

The building society has long had a presence in the United Kingdom, at Brixton, Tottenham, Birmingham, and Manchester, and also has one office in Toronto, Canada. The Miami operation is its first foray into the United States.

"The new office represents a significant milestone for the company in its ongoing effort to meet the needs of Jamaicans residing outside of the country," said Richard Powell president and chief executive officer of the Victoria Mutual Group, in a company statement.

"VMBS continues to enable thrifty Jamaican savers to become homeowners by providing additional financial services to our members, both at home and abroad."

Growth expected

The VMBS Florida Represen-tative Office, which opened for business March 30, will be run by Suzette Rochester who will oversee two employees. VMBS said it expects the office to grow over time as business expands.

The size of the investment was not disclosed, nor how much business the mortgage operation expects to eke out of the new market.

"The investment included the securing of legal and regulatory support to meet the requirements of the US Federal Reserve; rental and establishment of our representative office and the recruitment of two individuals," said Vivienne Bayley-Hay vice president, group marketing and corporate affairs.

"We anticipate that as the planned initiatives, such as our recent community forum gain traction, awareness of our South Florida operations will increase and will result in further growth of our business volumes in the short to medium term."

The inaugural forum, featuring Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica president Joseph M Matalon, was held in Davie, Broward County, Florida.

The 131-year-old VMBS is primarily a mortgage loan institution, with more than 700,000 accounts, but its business lines also cover property services, securities and foreign currency trading, general insurance, and money transfer services.

Bayley-Hay said the Florida office would offer key services only.