Thelma Yong (centre), deputy general manager, JN Small Business Loans (JNSBL) accepts her citation from Parris Lyew-Ayee (left) Chairman of the Board of Directors, JNSBL. Also sharing in the moment was Gillian Hyde, general manager, JNSBL.
Thelma Yong, deputy general manager, JN Small Business Loans (JNSBL), was recognised for her outstanding service to the microfinance company during its Staff Awards Ceremony, which was held at the Spanish Court Hotel on Friday, June 1, 2018.
Mrs Yong joined JNSBL in January 2001 and, served as credit and risk assessment manager, then Senior Manager, Credit Administration prior to being appointed to her current position in 2015.
“Since she joined JNSBL in 2001, Mrs Yong has dedicated herself to the development of not only the company,” explained Mrs Gillian Hyde, general manager, JNSBL, “but, also the lives of its clients, through her commitment to providing them with financial assistance, which resulted in life changing opportunities”.
“Her distinctive efforts in promoting the MSME sector contributed to the company’s recognition by the Caribbean Microfinance Alliance as the most responsible lender in the microfinance industry within the English-speaking Caribbean in 2015,” she added.
Mrs Hyde noted that Mrs Yong was successful in increasing the number of JNSBL loans from 380, to more than 2,000 loans per month, resulting in disbursements of more than $450 million per month; and, in excess of $25 billion since the inception of the company.
“She is an erudite financier, and is fully conversant with developmental trends. Mrs. Yong’s support, therefore, advanced the expansion of the company’s loan programme, from two to all 14 parishes in Jamaica,” she stated, adding that Mrs Yong was “meticulous, and possessed a good sense of humour.”
Other members of the JNSBL team also paid tribute to Mrs Yong, who was described as “friendly and approachable”.
“She has always given guidance to the team and provided us with sound advice over the years. I enjoy working with Mrs. Yong. She usually calls me ‘Justice’, or ‘Custos’, and she is good at motivating the team to do the best we can,” noted Mr. Fredrick Young, Region 6 client relations manager.
Delroy Foster, client relations manager for Region 4, stated that Mrs. Yong was a keen listener. “I can talk to her at anytime. She is always willing to listen and provide sound advice,” he related.
Mrs Yong, in acknowledging the recognition, thanked her team for working with her and clients over the years, to position JNSBL as the microfinance company of choice for members of the MSME sector.
Mrs. Yong worked at the Development Bank of Jamaica for many years before commencing her tenure at JNSBL and said she was surprised when she saw the loan amounts disbursed to clients.
“I started my journey here three months after JNSBL was established. I actually had a culture shock, because at that time, the minimum loan amount was $5,000. I recalled saying ‘$5,000? I could lend them that!’ However, over the years, we have maintained a family atmosphere which strengthened our team, and helped our clients to grow,” Mrs Yong stated.
“When I see the excellent progress that our clients have made; and, hear their heart-warming stories, it pleases my heart. That is why I have stayed with JNSBL for the past 17 years and six months,” she stated.