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Government Employees to Appear in Court on Fraud Charges

Alaina Hull

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Fraud Charges

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A Ministry employed salary clerk and two teachers, from Manchester and Clarendon, are set to appear in court. The charges brought against them are for simple larceny and conspiracy to defraud.  On May 28th they will appear in court to answer to these charges.

Fraud Squad Detectives Identified the Accused Trio Earlier This Week

Jermaine Saunders, Delroy Elliott and Ruel Young are the accused in this case. Jermaine Saunders is a salary clerk working for the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Information in Kingston. Delroy Elliott is a teacher in Walderston, Manchester. Ruel Young is the other accused teacher in this case from Rock River, Clarendon. The trio was charged after the Fraud Squad detectives identified them as the foremost suspects in the case.

The Trio Failed to Return the Overpaid Money to the Ministry

As per the sources, the teachers, Elliot and Young, were overpaid by around $23 million from June 2017 to August 2018. The allegation against the salary clerk is that he had asked for a percentage from the overpaid money and both of them agreed to it in the form of the bank transfer and cash. The money has yet to be reimbursed to the Ministry. The three men turned themselves at the request of the Fraud Squad detectives between the 7th and 9th of May.

They were all offered bail to the tune of $400,000 and are now set to appear in the Kingston and St. Andrew Parish Court. Teaching is generally viewed as a noble profession and fraudulent cases on teachers is sure to raise some eyebrows.

The commitment to deliver knowledge and information to the world is a duty that one should not take lightly; it is one that I do not take lightly. Equipped with 10 years of professional writing experience, and even more so of "scribbling in a journal", I aim to provide in-depth, accurate and expeditious news and information. "Journalism can never be silent: that is its greatest virtue and its greatest fault. It must speak, and speak immediately, while the echoes of wonder, the claims of triumph and the signs of horror are still in the air."- Henry Anatole Grunwald [email protected]

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Sending Money to Jamaica: How to Use Western Union to Send Money Home

Alaina Hull

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Sending Money to Jamaica: How to Use Western Union to Send Money Home

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What is Western Union?

Western Union is a provider of various financial services based in the United States. Ever since its inception, the company has established a vast network in many countries across the world. It serves as a blessing for those who want to send money to their loved ones back home. The company offers various modes of transferring money reliably so that the sender and receiver can choose a method that suits them both. They can opt for sending money in just a few minutes, direct to the bank or next day delivery. With online support, money transfer has become very easy. Western Union supports money transactions in about 130 currencies.

Sending Money to Jamaica: How to Use Western Union to Send Money Home

History of Western Union in Jamaica

The roots of Western Union in Jamaica go back to 1990 when the financial services provider made its entry in the country. The company established GraceKennedy Remittance Services Limited to operate as the exclusive agent for its financial services in the country. The first branch was set up in Kingston.

Presently, the provider has made its presence felt across the country with more than 20 outlets and independent branches. Kingston alone has more than five branches to its credit. Jamaicans can utilise the various financial services offered in any of these branches including the ones that are in other key areas of the island like Spanish Town, Old Harbour, Priory, Mandeville, Brown’s Town, Portmore, and Montego Bay. In 2018, the company went a step further by expanding its digital services to the country through its Western Union mobile app for iOS and Android platforms. Today, Jamaicans use the company’s services to pay for their day to day expenses.

Sending Money to Jamaica with Western Union

Thanks to the association between Western Union and GraceKennedy, you can send money to family and friends residing in Jamaica reliably and without any hassles. You can do this in one of the following three ways – online through the company’s website, using the WU app, or in person through an agent location. To send money online or through the app, this can be done directly from your bank account to another or use a debit or credit card. You can opt for cash payment also at an agent location.

Sending Money to Jamaica: How to Use Western Union to Send Money Home

For Western Union online or app transfer, you must first register yourself with the company. The advantage of using the online mode or app is that you can send the money from anywhere, whenever you want, at any time of the day. Both these methods allow you to do the transfer to a bank account. When you opt for agent location, you can send the money to either a bank account or to the closest agent location of the receiver. In the latter case, the receiver will have to make their way to the agent location to claim the money. Remember to take a valid photo identification proof along with you for submission to the agent.

It is advisable to check out the price estimator tool on the Western Union website to help you determine the most economical option to send money to Jamaica because exchange rates may change depending on the mode used for the transaction.

Alternatives to Western Union

Interestingly, you do not have to rely solely on Western Union to send money to your loved ones in Jamaica. There are a few other financial service providers who would be more than glad to help you with the same service. You can consider checking them out as well to see if they meet your expectations so that your money reaches the person you need it to get to safely. Most of these financial services providers offer 24/7 customer service and a full money refund if the money is not delivered within the promised time.

Transfast can help you get your money across for a very good exchange rate and a low fee. You can send the money through a bank deposit to most major banks in the country. Another way is to arrange for a money pickup from a selected pay-out location from over 100 locations across the island. For more details, you can visit their website.

Xoom, a Paypal service, is another good alternative to Western Union to transfer money to family and friends in Jamaica. You can send money using the company’s website or app from a bank account, debit card or credit card by way of a bank deposit. You can also opt for cash pickup from nearly 300 locations in the country. Whichever option you choose, the money will usually be available in just 15 minutes. Major banks like Scotia bank, NCB, and VMBS feature a fast bank deposit facility. The company keeps you updated throughout the process of the money transfer via text and email notifications. You can check out more at their website.

WorldRemit allows you to send money to Jamaica through either bank transfer, cash pickup from Victoria Mutual or JMMB Money Transfer branches or airtime top-up. Bank transfers usually take a day or two for the receiver to get the money while the transfer is instant with cash pickup or airtime top-up. Keep in mind that if you opt for airtime top-up, the receiver will get only 80% of the amount due to internal tax deduction by the Jamaican government. More details are available at their website.

Sending Money to Jamaica: How to Use Western Union to Send Money Home

Moneygram operates a worldwide network and has multiple branches in Jamaica. You can send money to a mobile wallet, via a bank account deposit or arrange for money pickup from the closest location. Check out additional details at their website.

Conclusion

Western Union has come a long way in helping people abroad to send money to family and friends residing in Jamaica. It has helped Jamaicans raise their living standards in multiple ways ranging from meeting the payments for day-to-day expenses such as education, to raising funds for small businesses, and enterprises. Moreover, the company offers multiple methods of transferring money to Jamaica. This makes it easy for the sender and receiver to choose an option that is convenient for both of them. With its presence in about 200 countries, Western Union has helped Jamaicans to receive money from almost any country in the world.

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The NCB Effect: Potentials, Opportunities and Downfalls of the Jamaican Bank

Alaina Hull

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The NCB Effect: Potentials, Opportunities and Downfalls of the Jamaican Bank

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National Commercial Bank – Jamaica’s Largest Bank

National Commercial Bank (NCB) has its origin dating back to 1837. It was at this time the Colonial Bank of London headquartered in England, made its presence felt in Kingston. The banking practices that were prevalent in the country then, began to change over the years, following which a series of mergers and acquisitions took place. This gave birth to National Commercial Bank Jamaica Limited in August 1977.

The NCB Effect: Potentials, Opportunities and Downfalls of the Jamaican Bank

Four years later, in 1981, the bank launched Keycard – its first credit card. This is the first credit card to be launched by a Jamaican bank. As NCB began expanding its operations, it introduced the NCB-SME that focused on offering financial solutions and services exclusively for small and medium enterprises.

Today, the bank is the biggest financial institution in the country and has a wide network of branches, automated banking machines (ABM), iABMs and kiosks across the island to its credit. NCB offers many personal and business products and services that are almost on par with what the international banks in the country have to offer. The bank is governed by both the local banking laws and the laws of the country.

NCB’s Recognition on an International Level

The year 2011 saw NCB receiving worldwide recognition. The bank was the proud recipient of three international awards. These are the Global Banking and Finance Award for being the best bank in the country, Euromoney’s Award for Excellence, and The Banker’s Award for Best Bank of the Year -CARICOM. Interestingly, the bank was the first financial institution to receive the Global Banking and Finance Award ever since the award was initiated.

The Banker Magazine from London also listed the bank among the top performing banks of the world. The institution also ranked at the third and 14th positions internationally with regard to return of capital and assets respectively.

Personal Banking Offerings

With the aim of giving its customers the best service, NCB has many private and premium banking services on offer. Customers can open savings and chequing accounts, as well as acquiring debit, credit, and prepaid cards. The minimum age to open an account with the bank depends on the account that you would like to open. The difference between a prepaid card and a debit card is that the Keycard Cash prepaid card can be used by anyone who is more than 12 years of age. The card allows cash reloads through a branch or through online or telephone banking. Using the Keycard Cash prepaid card has the advantage of getting a cash-back of 1% on any purchase made with the card. It can also be used to pay bills and top up prepaid mobile phone numbers at any of the ABMs of the bank.

The NCB Effect: Potentials, Opportunities and Downfalls of the Jamaican Bank

The bank also provides various types of personal loans, auto loans, and mortgages at feasible interest rates. Additionally, NCB offers retirement and educational plans, as well as many investment and insurance products. You can make investments in US dollars, Canadian dollars, and GBP, apart from Jamaican dollars. The financial institution also offers advice on helping one to understand whether a conservative, moderate or aggressive investment plan will work best for them.

Business Banking Offerings

For businesses, the financial institution offers different types of banking such as corporate, treasury & correspondent, and online banking. NCB also provides checking accounts in the form of business current accounts and a series of savings and value plans. Operating a business current account allows businesses to make use of overdraft services, short-term borrowing on the current account and personalised cheque leaves. The account also helps businesses with an easy way of keeping a record of all associated financial transactions. Statements for the current account are available for various time periods that can be daily, weekly, monthly or even quarterly. Additionally, the bank provides its own as well as VISA co-branded credit cards for businesses to take what best suits them.

The NCB Effect: Potentials, Opportunities and Downfalls of the Jamaican Bank

The bank provides investment options, auto loans, secured loans and unsecured loans depending upon the size and requirement of the business. Merchants have access to point-of-sale, bill payment, and e-commerce solutions.

Downfalls of Using NCB

Although NCB covers almost all the vital banking requirements of its customers, one of the major drawbacks is that it does not have debit VISA and Mastercard cards that are offered worldwide. This is a major inconvenience as customers are unable to access their money through a debit card when they travel. Customers unable or unwilling to take a credit card are left having to seek out other financial solutions when travelling. In 2011, a Jamaica Gleaner news release said that the bank had no intention of making the facility of VISA debit cards available. As of now, the financial institution has made no change to the decision. If it continues like this, NCB will be one of the very few banks in the country and international market that does not support this internationally recognized card. This can mean that there are fairly high chances of the bank ranking a step lower than international banks or other banks in the country that offer these cards.

The NCB Effect: Potentials, Opportunities and Downfalls of the Jamaican Bank

Moreover, you can use the NCB kiosk to only transfer amounts between the accounts with Jamaican dollar currency that are linked to a MIDAS debit card. In other words, it does not support fund transfer to a foreign currency account. Only funds between NCB accounts that can be accessed at ABMs and iABMs can be transferred.

Conclusion

NCB has created a new trend in the financial sector of Jamaica. This is the first bank in the country to offer its own private label and local proprietary credit cards along with co-branded counterparts. Most branches of the bank serve their customers during the regular bank working hours. Keeping in mind that customers are their key assets, some branches offer extended working hours so that one can reach out to them for a while longer than normal business hours. There are also a few branches and iABMs that render their services all through the day, every day of the week.

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Scotiabank Jamaica: Benefits and Opportunities of International Banking Locally

Alaina Hull

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Scotiabank in Jamaica

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Scotiabank in Jamaica

The Bank of Nova Scotia is an international bank originating in Canada. The bank has made its presence felt in various parts of the world as Scotiabank and started operating in Jamaica in 1889 with its headquarters in Kingston to support trading of various products. Interestingly, this was the first branch opened by a Canada-based bank outside either the United Kingdom or the United States and the first international bank in the island of Jamaica. The primary items focused on for the trade were sugar, rum and fish. Traders looked to the bank as a means to sell their goods on a monetary basis when barter system started becoming less feasible. Merchants found that having a local bank would be more advantageous to them where they could use bills of exchange to sterling drafts. Scotiabank helped them with this and traders found that their creditors abroad accepted these drafts more readily.

The Scotiabank in Jamaica operates just like a local Jamaican bank, and is governed by the local banking rules and regulations. Therefore, the laws that apply to any local bank in the country apply to this bank as well. However, there are many benefits and opportunities that Jamaicans can avail when banking both personally and commercially with this bank.

Wide Range of Accounts

When you choose to bank with Scotiabank Jamaica, you get to take your pick from a wide range of savings accounts to save and manage your money. The bank has various accounts to cater to the requirements of all age groups.

Scotia Bank Jamaica: Benefits and Opportunities of International Banking Locally

The bank has different types of starter accounts to cater to the needs of the youth. It also has specific accounts for people looking for ways to increase their personal savings or save for a specific purchase. The bank additionally has accounts dedicated to meet the requirements of newlyweds and seniors.

Foreign Currency Option

This option offered by Scotiabank Jamaica allows you to retain your savings in a foreign currency account in four different currency options – Canadian, Euro, British Pound and US currencies. This is particularly helpful for those engaged in international business as it will help you get rid of hassles associated with fluctuating exchange rates, commissions or exchange fees.

Scotia Bank Jamaica: Benefits and Opportunities of International Banking Locally

With the foreign currency option, you can avail various benefits. For example, the interest gets calculated based on the daily balance in the foreign currency account and paid on a monthly basis. This helps you have more savings. Another benefit is that Scotiabank allows you to make multiple transfers between your other accounts through online banking or mobile banking. Last but not the least, ATMs dispense the amount withdrawn from the foreign currency account in local currency.

Loans for Every Need

Scotiabank renders various types of loans and lines of credit for different purposes at competitive rates so that you can buy anything when you have a requirement. The home equity loan is one such loan that you can avail for renovating your home. You can borrow up to US $150K or 75% of the appraisal value of your home and repay the loan in 15 years. Likewise, the Scotia Wheels Loan helps you buy your dream vehicle with 100% financing and repayment within 84 months.

One of the best loans offered by Scotiabank is the Scotia Plan Loan that you can customize based on your varying needs. You can choose a repayment schedule and amount that is convenient to you and pay back with fixed monthly repayments. This will help you avoid paying a high amount as interest alone.

The bank also offers different lines of credit that give you financial flexibility, low interest rate and instant unrestricted access to your credit when it is required. The institution additionally renders non-saver, saver, instant qualifier and other types of mortgages on affordable terms.

Different Types of Insurance

With Scotiabank, you can access a variety of insurance packages to keep yourself covered in all ways. The bank offers various choices like life insurance, health insurance, auto insurance, home insurance and travel insurance. You can opt for one or more insurance options at a time. The institution also provides a specialty insurance that will help you to save 20% of your annual income for your retirement. There is no tax deduction on this amount.

For personal and healthcare insurance, the bank allows you to choose customized policies and premiums according to your lifestyle.

Large ATM network

Thanks to a large ATM network, Scotiabank ensures that your money is readily available for you even after banking hours. To ensure this, the bank has placed more than 700 high-class and state-of-the-art ATMs at key strategic points of the island. It also ensures that these machines always have cash loaded in them round the clock.

Scotia Bank Jamaica: Benefits and Opportunities of International Banking Locally

In addition, you can use the ATMs for other transactions such as checking account balance, paying bills, depositing and transferring of funds, getting a mini statement of last 10 transactions of your accounts, cash or cheque deposits to local or USD accounts and much more.

Conclusion

Apart from the above points, the bank offers its customers Visa debit cards, premium credit cards, mobile and telephone banking, online banking any time of the day and customisable asset or wealth management solutions with term deposits and mutual funds. Apart from banking related products and services, Scotiabank has some other interesting programs up its sleeve. For instance, the bank started sponsoring the Kiddy Cricket Programme from 2000 to kindle the interest of young children in sports. The aim of this programme is to make primary school children appreciate and develop an interest for the game. It also tries to build true sportsmanship in children.

Today, Scotiabank thrives not only as the first international bank that made its presence felt in Jamaica, but also as one of the biggest banks in the island. With a wide network of 35 branches, three sub-branches and 2,000 staff, the second oldest bank in the country strives to offer Jamaicans the best commercial and retail banking services.The institution has won the Bank of the Year twice in 2005 and 2013 by Latin Finance and The Banker respectively. It is also a two-time recipient of the Best Emerging Market in 2011 and the Best Emerging Market Bank in Latin America in 2014 by Global Finance magazine.

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