BY JELANI GRANT
The Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) will be reorganized following the overwhelmingly left vote by members of the organization to reorganize the JN Group into Jamaica’s only mutually owned commercial bank.
The 142-year-old building society will become the first commercial bank in Jamaica to be fully owned by its savers and borrowers. The bank will be led by current JNBS Executive, Maureen Hayden-Cater and will be launched early next year. The Society is converting to Jamaica National Bank based on the demand from the majority of the organization’s members for more banking services. Their current savings and loan portfolio will be carried over into JN Bank. “Since we made our application to the Bank of Jamaica, we have been busy preparing for our entry into the market, developing new products and services, which you have requested, such as our JN Auto Loans, our JN VISA credit cards, and JN Unsecured Loans,” said Cater, “when we convert to JN Bank, we will expand the suite of credit products, based on your demand.”
Nearly 25,000 Jamaica National members voted in person or by proxy at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston on Monday, November 14th. Preliminary results from auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers, tallied that more than 99 per cent of JN members who voted were in favor of the proposed changes.
Jamaica National General Manager Earl Jarrett expressed his appreciation to the members who voted in favor of the reorganization while thanking the Jamaica National Group employees and JNBS Board of Directors for their support. “JN members have moved our organization forward today and we look forward to expanding our products and services and offering them the best services of any financial institution,” said Jarrett.
He also expressed gratitude to PricewaterhouseCoopers, which observed the voting process to ensure transparency.
Founded by Westmoreland Building Society founder Reverend Henry Clarke, one of the founders of the Manchester Mutual Building Society Mr. Ernest Clarke, St. Ann Benefit Building Society founder Rev. Josias Cork, John Gerrard Marchalleck, one of two people who spearheaded the move from the St. Thomas Mutual Building Society, John E. Kerr, Chairman of the St. James Building Society, St. Mary’s Benefit Building Society founder Rev. Edwin James Touzalin, And Founder Of The Brown’s Town Benefit Building Society J.H. Allwood. The JNBS first became a concept in 1864 in an effort to assist lower and middle class people in Jamaica. A year after this concept came to life, enough Building Societies had been created to merit the passing of the Act for the Regulation and Encouragement of Benefit Building Societies. This act was created to encourage the development of even more Building Societies, with the added benefit of granting them various privileges like higher interest rates.
The Jamaica National Group will become the parent company for the JNBS subsidiaries, where mutuality will be preserved following the reorganization of the JN Group. The subsidiary companies in the Group will include: JN Small Business Loans Limited, JN General Insurance Company Limited, JN Fund Managers Limited, JN Life Insurance Company Limited, JN Money Services Limited, and Management Control Systems Limited; JN Cayman Limited in the Cayman Islands, as well as The Jamaica Automobile Association (Services) Limited.
One hundred and forty years of people of caliber who, over the years, were prepared to think outside of the box towards the creation of a society has led to the growth and success of JNBS. They continue to provide innovative, high value products and financial services.