Alliance Financial sub-agents in limbo as trial continues | Business

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Sub-agents of Alliance Financial Limited, AFL, a group of 68 independent stores that operate ATMs for MoneyGram remittances, say their daily earnings have halved since the December 3 suspension of authorization Alliance to operate cambio and remittance activities.

The sub-agents are usually operators of grocery stores, pharmacies and microcredit agencies, and those who spoke with the Financial Gleaner say they are exploring ways to minimize costs due to the suspension of the money transfer service and look forward to the outcome of the lawsuit against related companies AFL and Alliance Investment Management Limited, AIML, and their executives Peter Chin and Robert Chin.

AFL is a principal agent of the cambio and money transfer service provider MoneyGram. In addition to the network of 68 sub-agents it has built over 17 years, Alliance Financial itself has five locations across Jamaica.

On Thursday, two of the deputies who spoke with the Financial Gleaner says they have closed their doors completely. Others, whose operation includes other business activities, remain open to facilitate sales generated by these business segments, but say they have reduced the salaries of staff who managed the payout window and put others on leave, in the meantime.

Large business owners have reassigned some staff to other tasks. Still, there are concerns about the bonus payments typically expected by employees during the holiday season.

“We’re caught in the middle of something we have nothing to do with, and to make matters worse the suspension has occurred in one of the busiest times of the year,” a sub said. -agent.

Remittances to Jamaica have increased since the pandemic in part due to lower travel. Relatives who would normally hand deliver cash when visiting Jamaica would instead use the formal money transfer network due to travel restrictions.

For the year ending December 2020, remittances increased nearly 40% to $ 2.9 billion. That number has already been surpassed in the 10 months of data released in 2021. In October, remittances were estimated at $ 3.01 billion, already setting a new influx record.

The extent to which the Alliance suspension will affect December’s remittances is unclear as market regulator Bank of Jamaica BOJ has redirected people who normally do business with Alliance to the other three main agents. MoneyGram.

Most of the sub-agents who were willing to speak with the Financial Gleaner have business activities outside of the cambio and remittance market, but say it is the most lucrative business segment, accounting for around 60 percent of annual revenue on average.

One operator said the holidays and pay cuts are interim measures that will not last beyond the end of the year.

“It’s our livelihood, we have families who depend on us, so if I don’t hear something positive coming out of the trial by the end of the year then I’ll have to consider some changes.” , he added. said the sub-agent.

To become a sub-agent of another money transfer company would require a new license from the BOJ, which the sub-agents said would take at least six weeks to be approved.

An arrest order was imposed on the Chins when they appeared before Senior Parish Judge Lori-Ann Cole-Montague in Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court on Tuesday, December 14. They are charged with offenses under the Bank of Jamaica Act, Banking Services and the Proceeds of Crime Act. Their next appearance will be on January 10.

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