JMMB expanding digital scopeThursday, October 14, 2021
AS it looks to further grow its client base across its banking and investment segments, JMMB Group (JMMB) will be launching its long-awaited mobile app, along with a suite of other digital offerings, to complement its operations for its 2022 financial year.
JMMB currently processes most of its digital requests through its Moneyline platform, which can only be used on a browser at the moment and as such limits its scope in the rapidly evolving digital era. However, this is set to change in short order as the financial group looks to fully utilise its client-first digital strategy to further build out its client base that grew by 10 per cent in the last year to 386,000 clients.
“Our mobile app is set to launch this financial year and we're actually starting, right now, a limited user beta for our friends and family. Once that is complete, we'll engage some of our long-existing clients to actually try it out and let us know how it works for them before we launch it to the wider public,” stated general manager of digital services Gifford Rankine at the company's virtual annual general meeting last Wednesday.
The group has been engaged in a standardisation project across Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) and the Dominican Republic (DR) over the last 3 years to support the new services being rolled out. Some of the services rolled out last year included real time equity trading in Jamaica, Moneyline for JMMB Bank (T&T) Limited, and the availability of bond and mutual fund products in the DR. Some of the new services to come from the upgraded Moneyline include the ability for bank clients to freeze their debit cards and trade from other parts of the region. A digital banking platform to onboard new and existing customers will be introduced, plus merchant acquisition products and point of sale machines for corporate clients.
With Jamaica and Trinidad past the first phases, the group is looking to upgrade its fleet of ATM's (automated teller machine) to smart ATM's, along with the deployment of additional locations. Its DR location will launch the Visa debit card once standardisation is complete in the country. Even with the roll-out of its Visa debit card, Rankine noted that JMMB has not prioritised credit cards in Jamaica as it currently examines the introduction of it as part of its product development. JMMB is currently piloting a finance solution in Jamaica with Appliance Traders Limited, Spaces and Applekings.
With respect to more physical branches, JMMB is currently constructing a new location at 102 Hope Road which will serve as its flagship branch. JMMB will also be opening an integrated branch in the DR shortly.
“Our approach regarding our physical presence is really reflective of client demographics, their attendant needs, as well as changing preferences. We have taken this into consideration and decided to construct one new branch in Kingston, which will serve as our flagship branch, which will have a digital skew. The pandemic has really accelerated digital transformation in the industry on a whole and it has really caused us to look at our digital suite and really make some pointed decisions. We have a very robust pipeline of digital solutions in the short term and will be focusing on delivering an omni-channel experience for our clients,” said country manager for Jamaica Keisha Forbes-Ellis.
Even as JMMB mulls a new territory in its acquisition strategy, its DR and T&T operations will be prioritised carefully for growth. JMMB Funds DR became profitable for the first time since launch in 2016 while JMMB Express Finance (T&T) Limited became profitable after 30 months of operation. DR currently contributes 14 per cent of the group's operating profit while T&T provides 7 per cent. However, the T&T subsidiary has faced harsher days amid the lockdown measures and foreign exchange issue which see JMMB Bank (T&T) clients only able to use US$250 from their Visa debit cards each month.
“The group's leadership has embarked on a comprehensive effort to address our operations in Trinidad and Tobago (TT). Through this process we have deployed a top-class team with the support of group resources, with the intention of maximising returns from TT. Given the continued strength of the TT economy and the favourable exchange rate, we continue to treat TT as a high-priority jurisdiction to enhance the returns to our shareholders,” stated Forbes-Ellis.