Overseas banks closing Jamaica remittance company accounts

(Jamaica Gleaner) Jamaica’s money-services businesses are being denied banking services overseas, especially in the United States and United Kingdom, where accounts are being closed because they are viewed as high risk, says the chief spokeswoman for the sector.

The result has been further declines in money transfers to Jamaica and the Caribbean, says president of the Jamaica Money Remitters Association, Leesa Kow. Regulations aimed at tighter controls for money laundering and financing of terrorists are taking a toll on remittance companies operating in the US, including those which remit funds to the Caribbean and Latin America, forcing some money-services firms to conduct their banking services through credit unions, the remittance association said.

“These are not new regulations, but regulators of banks are becoming more agile and aggressive in terms of ensuring that they know their customers, which means that they also have to know the customers of their customers,” said Kow.

Barclays Bank in the UK, which the remittance association said was one of the last British financial institutions to provide services to remittance firms, recently closed the accounts of 250 agents. The clampdown has hurt remittances flowing to East Africa.



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