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Wednesday 22 January 2020
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Tobago

THA ready to work with JMMB

Greater economic activity expected

Joel Jack (centre) Secretary of Finance and Economy, cuts the ribbon to declare the JMMB Express Finance Tobago branch open at Milford Rd, Scarborough on Wednesday. Joining him were Ronald Carter, chief country officer of JMMB (second from left), and other officials.       PHOTO BY DAVID REID - DAVID REID
Joel Jack (centre) Secretary of Finance and Economy, cuts the ribbon to declare the JMMB Express Finance Tobago branch open at Milford Rd, Scarborough on Wednesday. Joining him were Ronald Carter, chief country officer of JMMB (second from left), and other officials. PHOTO BY DAVID REID - DAVID REID

JMMB Express Finance has opened the doors of its fifth branch, in Tobago, with a focus on becoming Tobago’s financial life goal centre.

At the opening ceremony at the Tobago office, at Knot Court, Scarborough on Wednesday Ronald Carter, chief country officer, said this move is expected to help Tobagonians achieve their financial goal through better financial planning.

THA Finance and the Economy Secretary Joel Jack said he was sure the decision to open a Tobago JMMB Express Finance didn’t come from the beauty of the island but after the company realised the benefits of investing in Tobago and its people.

He said it will enhance Tobago’s financial architecture and foster greater economic activity on the island.

“Your decision to establish a branch in Tobago tells us you have strong confidence in the future prospects of the Tobago economy.”

He said the THA is also ready to work with JMMB for its future benefit.

Jack said this event is a symbolic occasion for Tobago on a day when Tobago Day is celebrated.

JMMB Express Finance CEO Elson James at the opening of the JMMB Tobago branch on Wednesday. PHOTO BY DAVID REID - DAVID REID

Tobago Day, formerly Assembly Day, celebrates the establishment of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) in 1980. (An earlier body of the same name existed from 1768–1874.)

Jack said the THA’s goal is to invite JMMB to help Tobagonians create wealth through savings and investments through entrepreneurship and a business-friendly environment.

“Tobago’s financial sector contributed 24 per cent to the island’s GDP in 2018, second to government services, which contributed over 46 per cent. I do not doubt that the opening of this JMMB branch will serve to augment the contribution of the financial services sector to economic activity in Tobago.”

He said the opening of this branch sends a message that despite Tobago’s economic challenges ”Tobago is open for business and the economic prospects are indeed great.”

Jack said data shows Tobago has the lowest unemployment and inflation rate in the region, and he hopes JMMB can support Tobago’s current economic diversification thrust, which is a primary focus of the assembly.

“It is our view that it is only through entrepreneurship and private sector-led development that we can surmount our seemly elusive development goal of economic diversification. JMMB has a role to play in this regard.”

This is the first JMMB branch that allows customers to access JMMB Express, investments, and banking services in one location. Tobago customers can expect services from JMMB investments and non-cash services in early 2020.

JMMB has offices in Jamaica, Dominica Republic, and Trinidad and now in Tobago and serves over 300,000 clients.

In September JMMB opened its first branch in Chaguanas,on Ramsaran Street. Since then it has disbursed 6,000 unsecured loans totalling just under $100 million, in one year, CEO Elson James said.

James said, these loans represented "a lot of our clients getting financing for high-cost debts, reducing their monthly payments and using that reduction towards savings towards a greater future.”

He said a loan from JMMB also allows clients without a credit history to get a start with a small loan to build credit ratings for bigger loans.

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