Business

JaMFA prepares for national microfinancing conference

Friday, November 09, 2018

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The Jamaica Microfinancing Association (JaMFA) is preparing for its annual national conference scheduled for Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston on Wednesday, December 12.

Keynote speakers at the conference will be Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw and Opposition spokesman on industry, investment and competitiveness Peter Bunting.

The conference will run from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm and will be staged under the theme, 'The Digital Reality: Redefining The Way We Do Microfinancing'.

According to JaMFA Executive Director Raymond Gabbidon, the conference aims to bring sector-wide attention to the challenges and opportunities in doing business on the Internet.

“There is about $28 billion circulating in the microfinancing sector, and with so much money circulating in the sector and in its digital space with the advent of online applications, wallets, etcetera, microfinancing companies must become more aware of what is out there — the threats as well as the opportunities — and we will be focusing on these developments during the conference,” he said.

He noted that guest presenters at the conference are among the Jamaica's first line of defence in case of a cyber attack.

“They are coming to tell us what are the threats and what we can do to mitigate those threats,” Gabbidon said.

He said that the microfinancing community is expecting powerhouse presentations from people like Craig Stephen, chief executive officer (CEO) of CreditInfo a member of the CreditInfo Group which offers diversified services in the area of Credit Risk Management, with information provision as the core of services including tools for decision-making, models and software.

On Monday, CreditInfo Jamaica made an undisclosed significant donation to the conference at its head office at the Towers in New Kingston.

Among those attending the event were: Andrew Mais; Walter White; Gail A. Dixon, managing director of Paradigm; Aashia Brownie, CEO at A&N Loan Hub Limited, representing JaMFA; and Craig Stephen, CEO; and Krista Taylor, sales and Marketing Manager, at CreditInfo.

Stephen described the sponsorship as a partnership long in the making.

“It is something we didn't have an opportunity to capitalise on before now due to certain realities in the market, but those things have subsided and we are able to forge a partnership at this time,” he stated.

“JaMFA is important and very valuable to us because as a credit bureau, the trust and integrity of our data is built on these cross sections. And once we can cover all the different financial sections — including the banks, credit unions, line purchase companies, insurance, cars — that mix of course, and then you add microfinancing you know it is going to impact financial inclusion,” he added.

JaMFA was formed in 2008 by microfinance companies - Worldnet Investments Limited, Kris An Charles Investments Ltd and First Union Finance Limited. The association seeks to change the image and conduct of money lenders in Jamaica's microfinance sector.

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