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Financial News

Nov 2012 Financial News

First Global reaching out to diaspora

Nov 26, 2012

With an estimated two million plus Jamaicans living in the diaspora globally, it has been strongly argued that this market is not being fully tapped into by Jamaican based providers of goods and services.

The tourism industry has made inroads in marketing to the diaspora, primarily in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States, but Jamaicans overseas have expressed the view that more needs to be done by financial institutions to sensitise them of their investment type products.

Against this background, First Global Financial Services (FGFS), a subsidiary of the GraceKennedy Group is reaching out to bridge the gap with the overseas Jamaican communities.

"First Global Financial Services in conjunction with First Global Bank (FGB) certainly wants to offer a full service experience to the Jamaican diaspora," said Robert Drummond, president of FGFS in an interview. "We are confident that one of the best services to be provided to the diaspora is for persons to be able to do their banking wherever they are through Global Access."

For those in the diaspora who may not already be aware, Drummond says First Global Bank now has 'cutting edge' technology in the form of a secure, effective customer-friendly Internet banking platform.

"With this kind of facility, it is really an excellent way for persons to connect with Jamaica wherever they are, whether they are thinking of returning home over the short or long term. Whatever their banking needs are, Global Access is a great way to get them done," Drummond explained.

Jamaican-born business analyst and accountant, Leighton Salmon, who resides in Snellville, Georgia, said:

"We welcome news of the Global Access platform. One of the challenges we face is that we are accustomed to paying our mortgages and bills online in the United States. This facility does not exist for Jamaican-based financial institutions, even those that have a storefront in the US.

"If FGB's Global Access platform can address this challenge, this would certainly revolutionise our banking needs and the way our mortgages and bills are paid to our Jamaican creditors, globally," Salmon noted.

Not available to persons

Lots of information in Jamaica is not available to persons in the diaspora. One example is that accessing mortgages in the US is not subject to one's age, while in Jamaica, it is strictly age based.

Many people who are retiring in the US have strong cash flow from their pension and Social Security. These people desire to return to Jamaica to invest and settle, but they are hesitant because they would be unable to secure a mortgage because of their age.

"Therefore, financial institutions must realise that access to finances in developed countries is not determined by one's age, but based on credit rating, cash flow and ability to repay," Salmon said.

Jamaica Gleaner
Monday November 26, 2012