Business

Still a building society, VMBS enters consumer loan market

Sunday, September 10, 2017

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Victoria Mutual Building Society (VMBS) is expanding its product offering to include credit cards, auto loans, education loans and other personal loans by the end of December 2018.

The introduction of the loan products comes on the heels of approvals by the Bank of Jamaica and over 300 VMBS members who attended the financial institution's 138th Annual General Meeting last month and voted unanimously in favour of proposed new rules for the Building Society.

President and CEO of VMBS, Courtney Campbell, told the Jamaica Observer that the approved amendments to the rules of the Building Society make an important stride in the Building Society's thrust to become a modern mutual.

“The mutual is about an obsessive focus on our members and ensuring that their needs and desires shape all of our actions. As a modern mutual we intend to remain relevant, offering our members innovative products and services, as we transform digitally. We recently upgraded our core banking system and are undertaking a number of projects and initiatives aimed at automating key processes, simplifying service delivery and improving our management of innovation,” he said.

What is more, the new rules provide additional ways in which VMBS may raise capital, and gives the Society authority to issue a new category of funding shares which may be listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange. VMBS will also be able to expand its reach through agent arrangements.

Campbell reasoned that although the Building Society is a well-capitalised financial institution, given its growth plans, it is important for the Society to identify additional sources of capital to assist in supporting the growth.

In accordance with the Banking Services Act 2014, VMBS may offer funding shares in the form of deferred shares or preference shares, which typically have longer tenures. However, Campbell noted that the Society has no immediate plans for the listing of these shares, but sees it as an option that may be exercised in the future.

Prior to the amendments, VMBS loans were restricted to mortgage loans and home equity loans secured by the real estate. The Society also offered personal loans secured by the funds in an individual's savings account.

“These new rules enable us to respond to the changing environment. It allows Victoria Mutual to become more competitive in the marketplace while evolving to offer a wider range of products and enhanced services to better meet your needs and to support you in achieving your goal of financial independence,” Campbell told the Sunday Finance.

VMBS plans to introduce its auto loans by November 2017 and other consumer loans by the first quarter of 2018. Plans are also under way to introduce intelligent ABMs by June 2018 and mobile banking by September 2018. The credit cards will be rolled out by the end of 2018.

Campbell anticipates that the introduction of the product offerings will increase the financial institution's membership base, following on trends of VMBS reintroduced construction loans and recently introduced commercial mortgages.

“We are prepared to say that there is strong demand for these products, as our members have indicated that given our excellent customer service and their loyalty to the Society, they would prefer to access these services from Victoria Mutual,” Campbell said.

The Victoria Mutual Group recorded a solid financial performance in 2016. Total Assets for the Group increased by $8.805 billion or 8.50 per cent, while surplus after tax increased by three per cent, to end the year at $990,328 million.

Deposit liabilities for the Society increased by 7.75 per cent to $83.588 billion, while the mortgage portfolio grew by 5.21 per cent or $1.664 billion.

Among the subsidiaries, Victoria Mutual Wealth Management increased its profit after tax by 4.99 per cent to end the year at $326.504 million compared with $310.984 million in the prior year, and the recently renamed pension fund investment management and administration services arm, VM Pensions Management Ltd, increased its Funds Under Management by 35 per cent or $9.779 billion.

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