Kingston, Jamaica. Thursday, February 14, 2019 …The regional financial entity, JMMB Group, recorded a net profit of J$3.02 billion, for the nine-month period ending December 31, 2018, which is a 17% increase year-over-year. Additionally, the Group posted net operating revenue of J$13.77 billion, which reflects an increase of 12%, compared to the corresponding prior period.
The Group’s performance was largely driven by growth in its core business operations, namely: foreign exchange trading gains; fees and commission income; and net interest income. Foreign exchange trading gains saw a significant increase of J$1.01 billion, or 113%, amounting to J$1.90 billion, as a result of increased trading activity and growth in the regional markets, over the period. Additionally, fees and commission income grew by 40%, amounting to J$1.84 billion; this was spurred by the significant growth in managed funds and collective investment schemes across the JMMB Group. Net interest income also grew by 18%, or J$1.01 billion, totaling J$6.68 billion, as a result of the solid growth in loan and investment portfolios. Net gains on securities traded reflected the negative investor confidence in the emerging markets, which resulted in a decline in trading activities by 24%, totaling J$3.34 billion.
The JMMB Group continues to manage its operational efficiency, placing increased focus on the standardization of its core operating platforms, processes and systems across the Group, in a bid to yield greater efficiency and improved client experience. Even as the company manages this, it saw a marginal increase in its operational expenses, over the corresponding period, by 9%, amounting to J$9.48 billion. This increase was primarily attributed to costs associated with its integrated Group sales and support framework, in addition to the continued expansion of commercial banking services in Jamaica, and project-related activities geared towards driving operational efficiency. Nevertheless, the Group’s efficiency ratio improved from 71% to 69%, when compared to the corresponding prior period, as a result of the increased growth in revenue, which outpaced the growth of its expenses.
In commenting on the Group’s performance over the last quarter, Keith Duncan, JMMB Group CEO said, “We are pleased with the overall consistent performance of the company, especially the solid results shown in our banking and related services, and investments portfolios, which reflect our commitment to building out our integrated regional financial partnership strategy.” As evidence of the success of that strategy, the Group’s Dominican Republic operations have seen growth in its portfolio, especially in its banking and investments business lines. Additionally, the newest subsidiary of the JMMB Group in Trinidad and Tobago, JMMB Express Finance, has seen rapid expansion over the period, and now boasts three (3) locations in that country, since opening its doors in September, 2018. This expansion reflects the increased market demand for the financial solutions provided by that consumer financing subsidiary, which seeks to leverage financial solutions predicated on financial inclusion, a fair price and a quick response.
At the end of the reporting period, the JMMB Group’s asset base totaled J$310.76 billion, an increase of J$19.04 billion, or a 7% increase, compared to the start of the financial year. This increase is attributable to a larger loan and investment portfolio and the maintenance of a loan portfolio credit quality that is comparable to international standards.
The entities across the Group remain adequately capitalized, exceeding regulatory capital requirements, although there was a decline in shareholder’s equity to J$25.99 billion. Shareholder equity was impacted by the adoption of IFRS 9, at the start of the financial year, coupled with the decline in emerging market bond prices.
In further sharing insight into the Group’s direction, Duncan notes, “As we look forward to the process of leveraging strategic synergies and improving operational efficiency, over the strategic period ending in 2020/2021, the JMMB Group will continue to introduce innovative financial offerings across the markets in which it operates, thereby filling gaps identified in the financial sector. In keeping with this, JMMB Group is also eyeing more strategic focus, in the short to medium-term, on the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector, in order to drive growth, assist individuals to achieve their goals and support business expansion and growth; providing a win-win opportunity for all our stakeholders, through our financial partnership approach.”