Nationwide News understands that there are growing concerns over the dwindling number of banks offering services through Automated Banking Machines, ABMs across the island.
It’s understood the move is causing pressure on the country’s two largest commercial banks, National Commercial Bank and Scotiabank.
There’s also concern over whether JETS Limited, the company that operates the Multilink network in Jamaica, intends to address the issue.
We have more in this report from Shaloy Smikle.
In a bid to maximise access for the Jamaican public, financial institutions participate in the JETS network which enables customers of one deposit taking institution to use the ABMs of another.
There are approximately 800 ABMs across the island.
NCB and Scotia Bank account for about 600 of those machines.
However, on November 10, VM Group Limited, announced that all its ABMs not located inside a branch will be closed until further notice.
It’s understood that other financial institutions have followed suit.
The move is reportedly not going down well in some banking circles.
There’s concern that the institutions which have shut down their ABM services are relying heavily on NCB and Scotia operated machines to service their clients, without having to maintain or pay operational costs for use of the externally owned machines.
ABMs are also generally regarded in the sector as a way of extending banking access and convenience to the public.
Our sources say some players in the sector are particularly concerned about the move to shut down ABMs, noting that the goal in Jamaica should be to have as extensive a network as possible.
There’s also increasing concern that in the current circumstance, where it’s cheaper for some deposit taking institutions to rely on ABMs operated by larger banks, this development may present a disincentive to the larger institutions to continue operating ABMs in Jamaica.
One key source in the banking sector, says the prevailing disincentive could potentially lead to a general shutdown of ABMs and present a major inconvenience to the public.
The source cited the recent decision by VM Group to switch off their non-branch ABMs and restrict in-branch ABMs to branch hours, as evidence of the disincentive and real possibility of the ABM network in Jamaica shrinking.
It’s not immediately clear whether the issue has been formally brought to the attention of regulators of the banking sector or JETS Limited which operates the Multilink network.
When Nationwide News contacted CEO of JETS, Edmundo Jenez, he noted his willingness to comment on the matter, but said he was unavailable to speak in time for the submission of this story.