KINGSTON — Minister of Finance, Hon. Audley Shaw, is challenging banks to “step up to the plate” in assisting Government efforts to enhance investment and grow the economy.
While commending achievements in the commercial banking sector, he urged the institutions to become more flexible and creative in dealing with investors, including pointing them to cheaper government funds.
“As persons come into your doors, if (their) business plan is not perfect, can you (for example) set aside a window or consulting room, to say – can we improve on this business plan?” he asked.
“Can we become more discriminating as a commercial bank community to say ‘hold on, there are some funds over here at the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ)…these are development funds and it might mean that my margin on these development funds might have to be a little smaller…but if this customer can fit into the DBJ resources, can I take a little break on the margin to get the cheaper funds into the hands of that investor? These are questions that I’d like you to ask yourselves,” he stated further.
The Finance Minister was speaking today (July 11) at the official launch of the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) operations in Jamaica, which will replace the RBTT brand, at the Bank’s Dominica Drive headquarters in Kingston.
Meanwhile, Mr. Shaw expressed the hope that the rebranding of RBTT to RBC will represent a “changing of gears” to even higher levels of competition in the banking sector. He noted that the rebranding comes at a time when the stage is being set for new economic vibrancy in Jamaica.
The Caribbean-arm of Canada’s largest bank, which has served the region for more than 100 years, operates under the RBC and RBTT banners in 19 countries, with 125 combined branches and more than 1.6 million customers. RBC first entered Jamaica in 1911 and in 2008, acquired RBTT Financial Group. RBC officially begins operations in Jamaica today.
The Bank is carrying out regional rebranding in several Caribbean countries, having commenced in Trinidad and Tobago. RBTT operations in countries such as Barbados, Curacao and Suriname will adopt the new RBC brand.
In his remarks, Chief Executive Officer, Caribbean Banking, RBC, Suresh B. Sookoo, assured that the rebranding exercise is more than a new name and logo, assuring that the same personalised service that customers have come to expect will continue.
The Bank also made several donations at the ceremony this morning, as part of its outreach activities. The University of the West Indies received $2.5 million under the RBC/UWI scholarship fund, to benefit students, who are economically challenged, while the Jamaica Defence Force received US$25,000 to go toward its welfare fund, which assists ex-soldiers and their families. The Bank also presented Strathmore Children’s Place of Safety a cheque for CDN$1,000.
By ALPHEA SAUNDERS, JIS Reporter