Monday 28 September, 2020

JBA signals intent to provide easier funding solutions for MSMEs

Director of the Economic Growth Council Aubyn Hill (second right) joined bankers Keith Duncan (left) JMMB Group CEO, David Noel (2nd left), JBA President and Scotia Group Jamaica CEO and Chorvelle Johnson (right), Sagicor Bank CEO at the PSOJ forum last week. (Photo: Marlon Reid)

Director of the Economic Growth Council Aubyn Hill (second right) joined bankers Keith Duncan (left) JMMB Group CEO, David Noel (2nd left), JBA President and Scotia Group Jamaica CEO and Chorvelle Johnson (right), Sagicor Bank CEO at the PSOJ forum last week. (Photo: Marlon Reid)

Thirteen stakeholders in the financial industry have signed a joint declaration of intent to their commitment to providing solutions to the financial and other pains of the micro, small and medium-sized entreprises (MSMEs) and the public on a whole.

The declaration was signed at the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica’s (PSOJ) Financial Access Jamaica event held at the Terra Nova Hotel last week.

The inaugural event curated by the Public Sector Organization of Jamaica, under the theme “Time for Growth: Unlocking the Power of MSMEs”, included the Jamaica Bankers Association (JBA), to represent for all commercial banks across Jamaica to hear the issues of consumers and offer solutions.

MSME’s have often voiced their concerns regarding the lack of ease of access to funding for retooling and further investing in their businesses. 

With the JBA’s current campaign, “Better Choices, Better Banking”, the organisation, led by David Noel, has heralded its commitment to finding solutions, demystifying bank myths and revolutionizing how banking is done in Jamaica.

President of the Jamaica Bankers Association, David Noel. (Photo: contributed)

Noel, in his address to the audience, stated: “We know we can’t continue how we’ve been operating as banks - it’s not sustainable. We want to hear all of your stories today because, even though it’s not pleasant for me as a banker to hear how we have failed in this area, if we don’t openly listen to what you have to say and start making changes, we will always be having the same conversation.

"The reason we can’t afford to lose this opportunity now is because the economy is in a place now where we really can make a difference in Jamaica.”

The declaration of intent signed by members of the JBA listed 10 areas of focus that would be addressed throughout the year to provide amicable solutions for both banks and MSME’s.

These included the provision of a healthy ecosystem for businesses to grow, increased capital allocation to MSME’s based on risk appetites and other deciding factors, as well as ensuring that the Government, respective regulators and trade bodies provide clear guidance so the ecosystem can sustain itself.

Sagicor Bank CEO Chorvelle Johnson (Photo: Contributed)

Speaking on the topic, “Ready to Engage", Chorvelle Johnson, CEO of Sagicor Bank also shared on the importance of a combined effort to see changes to the Jamaican financial landscape.

“We have heard the concerns and are here today to decide what things we need to implement to make things easier. As a country, we have work to do to simplify how we operate, and if the private sector - small and medium-sized businesses, micro businesses, large businesses, bankers, etc - collectively agree that something doesn’t work, we have the power to ensure it is addressed.

"It is our hope that our business owners will commit their support to the regulatory changes we are pursuing for us to move forward together thereby further accelerating the growth of the MSME Sector to see Jamaica growing at the rate it needs to be.”

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