Addressing guests at a ‘Business Banking Road Show’, hosted in association with accounting firm BDO in Kingston on January 15, 2015, Holness said that the bank had expanded its range of business banking products and services to help SMEs achieve their goals.
He said that the bank is committed to delivering “convenient, accessible account options as well as solutions designed to save time and money”. As such, the road shows taking place in nine locations across the Caribbean were designed to “enhance customer experience”.
Montego Bay’s show was on January 14, 2015.
While demonstrating its strong commitment to the Caribbean through the continuous development of retail, wealth and business banking services, FirstCaribbean has completely overhauled its lending processes, invested in new systems and consolidated its regional operation centre, Holness said.
These changes, he explained, reflect the bank’s confidence in the recovery of the economic fortunes of the Caribbean.
Robert Wright, district manager at CIBC FirstCaribbean, said that on average executives/business owners spend 58 per cent of their time on administrative duties, but services like Internet banking, online international wires, online bill payment and mobile banking could save a lot of time and money.
He said that customers were enjoying the enhanced convenience of night deposit, e-pay service and merchant services, which had the added benefit of reducing cash on premises and improving cash flow and record keeping.
The availability of foreign exchange in a range of currencies, including Caribbean, North American and European, and direct access to the bank’s trading floor with pricing based on real time market, have also helped SMEs to better manage their foreign exchange needs and spending, Wright noted.
The bank’s merchant services overdraft, business banking line of credit, business overdraft and letters of credit make for reduced risk; ready access to revolving credit with its ‘Bizline Credit Card’ offers rewards, and other incentives, he explained.
Donald Brown, senior manager, BDO, cautioned business owners about meeting their tax and statutory obligations, noting that “good accounting advice and record-keeping are vital to business management and survival”.
Brown led the BDO team in sharing information on statutory requirements and obligations, record-keeping and the role of “good financial management” in ensuring the success of a business.
He urged business owners to “add value” by getting advice from professionals like tax advisors, accountants, and lawyers, and acquiring appropriate accounting systems and software to manage their operations which, he said, will “help plan the future of the business more effectively”.