The Jamaica Deposit Insurance Corporation (JDIC) has embarked on a media campaign to heighten public awareness about the increased coverage limit for accounts held at deposit-taking institutions (DTIs).
Effective August 31, 2020, the coverage limit has been adjusted from $600,000 to $1.2 million for holders of individual, joint, business, and trust accounts at commercial and merchant banks and building societies.
At the new limit, approximately 97 per cent of accounts held by member institutions, comprising eight commercial banks, two building societies, and one merchant bank, are fully covered.
JDIC’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Antoinette McKain, said that the public awareness campaign, dubbed ‘You’ve Been Upgraded’, incorporates the use of traditional print and electronic media and social media platforms to increase individuals’ understanding and awareness of Jamaica’s deposit insurance scheme and its benefits.
She was speaking at the launch held during a recent digital town hall.
The CEO noted that as Jamaica’s deposit insurer, the JDIC is mandated to protect depositors and contribute to financial system stability, thereby bolstering confidence in Jamaica’s banking system.
“It is [therefore] important that depositors, and the public in general, are knowledgeable about how they are protected under the deposit insurance scheme,” she noted.
“It is the confidence that we want you to have that your savings in Jamaica’s banks are, indeed, safe,” she added.
Chair of the JDIC, Myrtle Halsall, said deposit insurance schemes are integral to financial system protection in jurisdictions globally.
“This is because governments, central banks, banking system regulators and other financial [sector] participants recognise the importance of deposit insurance in safeguarding depositors, preserving banking system operations and viability and, by extension, supporting a robust economy,” she pointed out.
Meanwhile, Jamaica Bankers Association (JBA) President, Jerome Small, said the adjustment in the deposit insurance limit is “timely”, noting that doubling the coverage “is truly impressive and should be commended”.
“This change is welcome as it increases the attractiveness of deposits as a product in the market as well as the confidence of the public in the banking sector,” he noted.
Mr. Smalling said that in challenging times, as obtains with the coronavirus (COVID-19) “confidence is key to setting our minds at ease, as the future appears daunting”.
“Having peace of mind… the confidence that deposits are protected in the unlikely event of significant financial fallout, gives us one less thing to worry about,” the JBA President pointed out.
He noted that banking sector regulators have instituted a “very robust” set of benchmarks, including capital and liquidity reserve requirements, to protect depositors during challenging financial times.
Mr. Smalling said that consequent on the increased deposit insurance coverage limit, “the JDIC has taken an important step to bolster the confidence of the depositing public, as well as protect against unregulated entities that enter the deposit-taking space from time to time.
The JDIC deposit insurance coverage limit has increased three times since the Corporation’s establishment in 1998.
The figure, which was initially $200,000, rose to $300,000 in 2001, $600,000 in 2007 and $1.2 million in 2020.