Sixteen years ago, the doors of the Jamaica National Building Society Representative Office were opened in Florida, USA; and today, the office in Tamarac continues to fly the Jamaican flag high providing clients with its hallmark of excellent customer service.
Many of the clients served over the years had great things to say about the Representative Office and its staff which is evident by the testimonials they provided.
Elizabeth Robinson, a member of some eight years, said that the JN Bank Florida Representative Office is critical to her financial flexibility. “If it weren’t for the Representative Office, I would be on many flights back and forth to Jamaica,” she said, pointing out that the office provided her with the necessary information she needed to create the ease of doing business from in the US.
“Over the years, the Florida office has provided excellent service. The staff are friendly, professional and courteous and they worked closely with when I purchased property in Jamaica. In addition, the location of the office is convenient, easy to access and staff members are prompt and on time,” Mrs. Robinson related.
Leon Mitchell, Assistant General Manager, The Jamaica National Group, who was integral to the start-up of the Representative Office said that there was demand for the services of the then Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), the precursor to JN Bank, by Jamaicans in the state of Florida and that set in motion the establishment of the office.
“We needed to put the footprints of JN in Florida, because there were so many Jamaicans living in that state. While we had full support for the JN Money Services (JNMS) transfer business, there were also JNBS account holders; and, therefore, it was important that we supported them within the ambit of our license, and offer quality services,” Mr. Mitchell pointed out.
He noted that in the early years, the growth of the Representative Office was championed by the first Chief Representative Officer, the late Miss Margaret Barrett and Mrs. Carmen Bartlett, former regional manager for the JNMS USA South East, who retired last year.
“What we had were two very powerful personalities in the market place, which enabled us to grow both businesses at the same time. Margaret Barrett did an excellent job rallying the community for the products and services which directly related to Jamaica. And, Mrs. Bartlett, through our money transfer business, also had a powerful relationship with the community,” he related.
He also commended the Hon. Earl Jarrett, chief executive officer of the JN Group, for the role which he played, working with the regulators to establish the Representative Office.
“I am amazed that 16 years have passed since those seeds were planted,” Mr. Mitchell said with pride, noting that, “Over the years, the office engaged with the Florida community in many ways, and influenced the continuity between Jamaicans and their homeland.”
Janice McIntosh, Chief Representative Officer, said that the Representative Office takes the business of promoting both Jamaica and JN seriously.
“All its engagements give attendees the information they need to reconnect with Jamaica and ‘brand JN’ is the ‘how’ to do it.
All these engagements with clients take place where there is a high population of Jamaicans. These events have taken JN across Florida in areas within Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Miami Dade and Broward counties,” she informed.
“With our own signature brand name of events such as ‘JN Community Connection’, ‘JN Mocha Mornings’, ‘JN Financial Wellness Seminar’ and ‘Celebrate your Jamaican Heritage’, clients have come to expect the same quality content at the events whether it takes the form of a meeting, cocktail party, seminar, fair and/or open ‘house’ (office).” said Mrs. McIntosh.
She said the meetings are so engaging that attendees sometimes forget about the negative news they receive out of Jamaica. “In fact, over the years doing these presentations, it has become clear that persons use JN as a barometer to gauge what is happening in Jamaica. They see that the company presents unfiltered but encouraging news about the positive direction of the country in all its areas of growth and successes,” she explained.
Mrs. McIntosh, who has led the team for the past nine years, noted that one of the greatest benefits the Florida Representative Office brought to its members was being able to accept the compliance required “Know Your Customer (KYC)” documents at the Office, a move she initiated through the Regulators.
This, she noted was the first step in trying to establish and maintain the ties to JN since the regulations that govern the Representative Office is so strict. These new permissible activities opened the doors for quality customer engagement with members who were now able to come into the office or communicate via email or phone to drop off documents and update their accounts. This opened up conversations with members about the direction of the company as well as its expanded products and services.
She also stated that JN becoming a bank in 2017 proved to be a move that showed JN in a positive light of keeping up with the needs of our client base and attracting new ones based on the expansion of our core product and service offerings.
“The conversion provided additional options for our overseas members to access products which are unique to commercial banks,” she revealed. “In addition, over the years, the Representative Office was successful in receiving approval for the expansion of our activities to conduct business with our members,” she related.
With a membership base of over 50,000 in the US, the Florida office facilitates members from across the US with completing mortgage applications, opening savings accounts, as well as promoting the entire suite of JN Bank’s loan and mortgage portfolios.
Her vision for the JN Bank Representative office is that there will be an expansion of its service to offer US based clients credit options that would benefit their lives in the USA as well as Jamaica. Congratulating the Representative Office on its milestone, Curtis Martin, managing director of JN Bank, said the office has represented JN Bank in many positive ways and has consistently provided an exemplary record of service. “We, at The JN Bank are committed to continue to provide our Florida-based members with high value, innovative products and first class service in the years to come,” he maintained.