By Lincoln DePradine
A small but enthusiastic group of Jamaicans was present at Kennedy Square Mall in Brampton on Friday morning at the official opening of JN Money’s newest outlet.
Horace Hines, Managing Director of JN Money Services, owners and operators of the Jamaican company, JN Money, noted at the official opening of its Brampton branch that the new location “demonstrates our commitment to the Jamaican diaspora here in Canada to help to keep them connected with loved ones back home.” And it solidifies a relationship that is now nearly some three decades old.”
He recalled that JN Money’s relationship goes back to 1991 ” when our parent company, then Jamaica National Building Society, established a money transfer service here in Canada to serve Jamaicans in the diaspora.”
“This relationship, he said,” emerged out of a need to build a bridge between the thousands of Jamaicans who migrated to Canada during the 60s and 70s in search of an improvement in their livelihood, and their homeland. “And, over the years, more Jamaicans have made Canada their home.”
“The Brampton branch increases the number of JN Money locations in Canada to over 25,” he noted.
Quoting Statistics Canada, Hines pointed out that 300,000 Jamaicans now reside in Canada and that more than 80 per cent of them are in the Greater Toronto Area, “with Brampton accounting for approximately 45,000 of these residents.”
He told Jamaicans present at the official opening of the Brampton branch that because of these numbers “we thought it prudent to establish a new location here as we strive to ensure that you remain in touch with home as much as possible.
“We see our decision to open a location here as one which will allow even more Jamaicans to build more bridges and establish bonds with their loved ones at home.”
Hines explained that customers in Brampton will have access to the JN Money’s range of services, such as cross-border money transfers for cash pickup, transfers to bank accounts at financial institutions in Jamaica, transfers to the JN Money Card, and bill payments in Jamaica.
The first customer at the Brampton branch was Lloyd Wilks, Jamaica’s Consul General in Toronto who told the Caribbean Camera that he sent some money to relatives.
Elvoline McCoke of Brampton, who was also a customer on “opening day,”said that “JN’s newest location makes it easier for me to send money to my sister in Jamaica…I’m just so happy that Jamaica National is now right in the backyard,”
Reggae artist Steele who attended the official opening of the Brampton branch, said he was pleased with its location in Kennedy Square Mall. “As soon as you enter the mall, you can see it,” he remarked.
Chairman at the official opening of the Brampton branch was Claude Thompson, Regional Manager of JN Money Services, Canada.
According to figures from the Bank of Jamaica, in 2018, Jamaicans in Canada sent home (US) $197.1 million, which accounted for approximately 9.4 per cent of all remittance inflows into the island. The United States of America accounted for approximately 62.8 per cent of the inflows and the United Kingdom, 13.7 per cent.
A day earlier, on Thursday, Hines joined Toronto-based employees, including Claude Thompson, regional manager of JNMS in Canada, for a ceremony marking the relocation of the company’s branch in the City of Toronto. The branch, formerly at 1390 Eglinton Avenue West, is now at a new and more spacious location at 1649 Eglinton Avenue West.
Jamaica National’s suite of services includes a “Money Online’’ platform. Hines says JNMS is encouraging clients to utilize its online services, but he’s not ruling out setting up other physical office locations, beyond Brampton.
“As we seek to grow and expand in areas that have large Jamaican concentration, we will consider whether or not we establish a physical location because some persons still like to come in and interact with us, and to hear the language and feel that Jamaican warmth,’’ said Hines.
Jamaica National first established a presence in Canada with the opening of its Toronto office in 1991.