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CARICOM

3 Ways JMMB Can Improve Her Wealth To Really Make Caribbean Women Financially Strong

JMMB Her Wealth 3 Ways to Improve

It was interesting to see that Jamaica Money Market Brokers, Ltd. (JMMB) launched a suite of products for women, who already make up 59% of their client base and account for nearly 60 percent of revenue, in this Jamaica Gleaner online post. JMBB Her Wealth promises to provide tailored financial products to make women financially stronger and position the company for growth.

I was excited to check out these products and services on the JMMB Her Wealth webpage, that are divided into 4 categories:

her responsibility
  • An education plan for your children
  • maternity loan to cover those major expenses
  • Prepare with an emergency saving fund


her dreams
  • Secure home loans.
  • Education loan solutions.
  • Personalised savings and investing plans.


her independence
  • Secure your future with a retirement goal plan.
  • Access a working capital loan to help grow your business.
  • Personalised savings and investment plans.


her protection
  • 100% financing on auto loans.
  • Up to 15% discount on auto insurance. 
  • A family indemnity plan, to cover funeral expenses for you and your loved ones.


Related Article: How Caribbean Millennial Women Can Build A Financial Foundation While Supporting Extended Family



After checking out these wealth product offerings, I was surprised to see that retirement planning was not the first on the list under her responsibility and was trying to figure out how a maternity loan, education loans and 100% financing on auto loans together would help Caribbean women build wealth.

JMMB’s Her Wealth’s webpage did not provide specific details on the terms and conditions of these loans and why a woman, who likely would be experiencing a drop in income, should opt for a maternity loan.

Here are my thoughts on how JMMB can improve their offerings to really make women financially strong,

Shift Retirement to the Top of her responsibility

Women absolutely need to prioritize investing for retirement above any other parental or familial commitment. It would be great to see this fact reflected as the first order of business under her responsibility. And while I’m talking women’s priorities to themselves, women should minimize the use of education loans for their own advancement and would benefit from an education plan for themselves, as well, not just their children.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Caribbean women absolutely need to prioritize saving for their retirement” quote=”Caribbean women absolutely need to prioritize saving for their retirement, even before their children’s education funds.” theme=”style2″]

Replace Maternity Loans with Maternity Funds

Maternity loan and wealth in the same sentence, is perplexing enough, and  I really can’t imagine for a maternity loan can help women build wealth. A maternity fund as a replacement offering would help women be well prepared for the time they take off to bond with a newborn and care for herself, without going into debt and reducing her net worth.

[clickToTweet tweet=”It’s hard to figure out how @JMMBGroup can call a maternity loan ‘Her Wealth’… ” quote=”It’s hard to see how a maternity loan helps Caribbean women build wealth….” theme=”style2″]

 

Publish  Rates, Fees and Financial Education            Content Online

JMMB offers quarterly wellness workshops as an added benefit to its Her Wealth clientele, but in order for women, who are busy balancing varied responsibilities, to make informed decisions about financial products marketed to them, comprehensive information about fees, loan interest rates and investment options, need to be accessible online. This will simplify the process of comparison shopping and enable women to be well prepared before contacting a sales person.

Plus, since JMMB highlighted that women don’t trust themselves to make financial decisions, online educational content would be an even valuable benefit for the women to access 24/7.

Are you a woman considering JMMB’s Her Wealth products? What do you think about these new women-tailored products?

~ Melisa Boutin

Featured – Melisa Boutin on CBC National News: RBC fee hikes in the Caribbean

Melisa Boutin CBC National News Canada Royal Bank Fee Hike Caribbean

If you live in the Eastern Caribbean you are familiar with the recent roll out of a $25 XCD (~$9 USD) fee for savings account at Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Branches. Well, Caribbean people were having none of it and there was a wave of protests and a rush to close savings accounts at RBC Branches throughout the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union states, with people waiting in line for up more than 4 hours.

Sophia Harris of CBC National News recently spoke with me about why RBC’s Caribbean customers were so upset with the introduction of the new fees, to the point of protests.


Related Post: Caribbean Banks: When Raising Your Fees, You Can Do Better



I shared that:

  1. Customers were not adequately notified.
  2. Going from $0 to a $25 XCD fee was too steep of an increase.
  3. Royal Bank of Canada did not give enough consideration to customers when implementing the fees.

Sophia also shares the responses she received from Royal Bank of Canada.

You can read the full article here: Royal Bank sparks backlash with fee hike in the Caribbean

Were you one of the customers affected by the new fees? What do you think of the way Royal Bank of Canda rolled out the fee and the amount of notification given? Let me know in the comments below!

Caribbean Banks: When Raising Your Fees, You Can Do Better

Sometimes I really have to wonder if the Caribbean can’t do any better. And, in this case, can Caribbean Banks do better?

I came across a back and forth conversation on Facebook about the implementation of a ~$9 US fee to savings accounts at the Royal Bank of CanadaSt. Kitts Branch, less than a week before the May 23rd, 2016 effective date. Keep in mind that less than a week is not a lot of time to move your money to another bank as an overseas customer, (it took me 3 days just to get a customer representative the previous month)  and would mean even longer than usual lines for customers locally.

INADEQUATE NOTIFICATION BY DESIGN

For Commercial Banks in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU), there is no regulation specifying the manner in which nor the period over which customers must be notified before new account fees take effect. Royal Bank’s regulator, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), even issued a press release that emphasized the limits of its power to regulate Commercial Banks’ account fees.

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) is concerned about the increase in
commercial banks’ fees and charges across the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union
(ECCU) and the effects on depositors.

By law, what the ECCB has power to do, when it comes to Commercial Banks operating in the ECCU, is to:

[R]egulate the minimum savings rate, that is, the minimum interest rate paid on savings deposits.

The long and short of it is that the, ECCB, the regulator of  Commercial Banks, including Royal Back of Canada, can’t, legally, tell them nothing But the ECCB encourages Commercial Banks to be transparent with their customers and properly inform them of new fees. We all know how all that encouragement turned out…customer, confusion, protests, and 4+ hours long waits in bank lines….


Related Post: Featured: CBC Canada News, Royal Bank sparks backlash with fee hikes in the Caribbean


Caribbean Banks Can Still Do Better

Banks have to make money, and if instituting fees is required for their survival, then customers can vote with their dollars and bank elsewhere (or sadly, in some cases. not at all). For Royal Bank of Canada’s roll out of new fees for savings accounts, your ECCU customers in the region and the Diaspora were not adequately notified and it should not take a law to extend that courtesy. Well… maybe it will, since encouragement from the ECCB has not had much effect.

Posting a notice of new bank fees within the Bank Branch and, three pages deep, on RBC -Caribbean website should not represent the standard of service for a leading, financial institution in the region.

Next time around consider:

  • Notifying each customer individually in writing via the mail;
  • Notifying customers electronically, via email;
  • Providing options for customers to close accounts (via the phone and online); or,
  • Providing options for transfer of funds from closed accounts to customers or another financial institution of their choice.

If you are an RBC customer in the Caribbean affected by the new fees, how did you find out about them? Do you think there should be specific regulation or banks and/ or notification of new fees to customers? Let me know in the comments below.