KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) says several measures, including the rationalisation of some of its rural locations and upgrades to its systems, assisted in improving the efficacy of its operations and enhanced the banking experience of members and customers.
Addressing members at the Society’s 140th Annual General Meeting at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, recently, Earl Jarrett, General Manager disclosed that the Society had returned to pre-NDX performance with a surplus of $1.8 billion and an increase in Group assets to $162.4 billion from $144.6 billion. Surplus for the previous financial year was just over $300 million.
The Society converted some of its locations, which were transaction-driven, to JN MoneyShops in the last financial year. These included locations in Annotto Bay and Gayle in St. Mary; Christiana in Manchester and Linstead in St. Catherine. The MoneyShop concept allows the Society to provide a wider range of transactional services, which are costlier to provide in the normal branch structure; and, MoneyShops provide members the convenience of longer opening hours, up to 5:00 pm on weekdays; as well as, Saturday banking.
“We also shifted our high volume transactions, such as bill payments and remittances, to MoneyShops; and now the queues in branches are shorter; the turnaround time is quicker; and the team at Jamaica National now has more time to speak with members, as well as, assist them to solve financial problems,” Mr. Jarrett told members.
The project was piloted in September and became fully implemented in January 2014, resulted in a 29 percent decrease in over-the-counter transactions in one of its busiest locations, the Half-Way-Tree Branch, and a 38 percent increase in use of the cash recycler deposit ATM in the same branch.
The operational changes were also supported by increased use of the LIVE by JN online banking portal, which was upgraded in June. The portal allows members to conduct a variety of transactions, including bill payments, transfers to JN accounts and local commercial banks, wire transfers and purchase foreign exchange and phone top-up.
“Transaction volumes for the period April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014 amounted to some 403,666 transactions with a value of some $4.7 billion,” he revealed, noting that the LIVE by JN portal was now compatible with a range of mobile devices; and allows members the convenience of conducting their banking transactions on their own.
In addition, Mr. Jarrett said upgrades to its internal processing systems and empowerment of its branch managers helped to decrease transaction processing time and drive sales during the financial year.
“During the year we upgraded our Phoenix banking system which has improved transaction processing times by as much as 62 percent; and we did it in anticipation of a future world in which we needed to be up and about for 24 hours per day,” he said.
The Society re-purposed the role of branch managers, converting their operational roles to Business Sales and Relationship Advisors to make them the “sales face” of Jamaica National in communities, offering personalized and financial services to members and prospective customers.
He disclosed that the Society also applied to become a member of the Swift Network during the financial year in order to improve the efficiency of wire transfers, given a 75 percent growth in the Society’s wire transfer transactions.
“We have applied and they have accepted us; therefore, we will now be able to facilitate straight wire transfers, reducing the potential for errors and decreasing transaction time,” he said.
“All this was done to ensure that the organisation is ready and improved to deliver the kind of services that you require,” the General Manager affirmed.