KINGSTON, Jamaica — Earl Jarrett, chief executive officer of The Jamaica National Group, said its newest subsidiary company, JN Bank in the United Kingdom (UK), will seek to address financial inclusion for several unbanked or under-banked people in the UK, as well as pursue correspondent banking services for Caribbean banks in the future.
The bank is the first Caribbean-owned bank to be established in the UK.
Quoting the UK Financial Inclusion Report of 2017, Jarrett said there were some 1.23 million people in Britain who are underserved or not served by banks.
“Financial inclusion is not just a Caribbean problem. In the UK, there is a working paper on how they are going to improve on financial inclusion. It is estimated that four to five per cent of the working population does not have access to banking services and those are primarily persons who have small businesses; persons who don’t feel welcomed in the mainstream banking environment,” he pointed out.
“It is our hope that through the JN Bank, we will be able to provide banking services to those individuals, whatever their racial background or wherever they are from, so they too can achieve their personal objectives,” he said.
Jarrett was speaking at a virtual event to officially launch JN Bank in the UK on October 8. The launch follows the granting of a full banking licence by UK regulators to JN Bank last year.
The JN Group CEO informed that the bank will be digital with a physical branch in Brixton, South London that can be used for community activities after banking hours.
“Digitalisation is a true enabler of inclusion. It enables everybody to participate. It is not directly subjective. In fact, it does not look at you and make a decision on how you physically look but based on your data and track record,” he added.
He disclosed that the bank will initially offer retail savings and personal loan products, targeting the Caribbean community, as well as the wider UK market.
The JN Group CEO added that the intent of the bank is to also provide services to Caribbean banks, several of which have had their correspondent banking relationships in the UK severed.
He urged banks in the Caribbean to support the initiative to ensure that the region’s connection to the global financial system is sustained through, what he underscored, is the world’s leading financial centre.
JN Bank in the UK is wholly owned by the JN Group, a mutual organisation based in Jamaica.
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