Ms. Maxine Hinds, manager, of JN Money in the Southeast Region of the United States of America (USA), stated that Jamaicans in Florida have demonstrated their resilience by finding ways to send funds back home, despite the economic challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
She stated that many Jamaicans in the US Diaspora have been creative in finding ways to send funds home, whether from their divided, tax returns, stimulus checks, or earnings from odd jobs, via technology; to ensure that their families in Jamaica can meet their obligations.
“We had persons who still want to take care of their relatives in Jamaica, because the effects of the pandemic were felt quite a bit there. People would not leave their families out in the open and vulnerable, given that they needed to pay bills, purchase food and other amenities. Therefore, relatives in the USA found it necessary to figure out how to stay connected with loved ones; and, at the same time, being able to stay safe,” she explained.
Ms. Hinds was one of the panelists on the first episode of the JN Money ‘Money Talk’ Podcast, which was aired on YouTube, Apple Podcast and Sound Cloud, recently.
The episode entitled, “Coping With Financial Uncertainty Post COVID-19,” was the first in a five-part series, which examined how persons could survive during the pandemic. It also highlighted how JN Money’s suite of technology products has assisted customers, who have had to cope with the restrictions in movement, as a result of curfews.
The JN Money Southeast Region manager emphasised that Jamaicans showed their resilience and ability to provide for their families even in times of hardship, as many lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
“Jamaicans are very resilient. For those who lost their jobs, when the stimulus money was paid, they found a way to share it. When they received unemployment benefits, they still figured out a way to share it.
When they received payments for odd jobs, they also shared it,” she said.
“For us, our tax season runs until July; therefore, they also shared that portion of funds. Although many of our customers lost their jobs, there were other avenues for them to receive funds; and they still found a way to share it with relatives back home. And they were innovative about how they sent those funds home,” she affirmed.
She added that technology played a significant role in the process, as customers were introduced to “cashless options,” when they visited JN Money locations.
“One of the first things we did was to promote the cashless option, because COVID-19 can be spread through handling cash. We made it easy and simple for our customers, who were using their debit and credit cards, based on our due diligence process.
Then, there were customers who were unable to come in, because they were not mobile, or had to adhere to the curfews and restrictions set by the state, city or county; we informed them that our online option was available; and once they went online, and registered, the process was easy,” she stated.
Michael Collins, Team Leader, Youth Banking, at JN Bank, added that technology has assisted many persons during the pandemic by offering convenience, with them not having to visit a physical location.
He informed that JN Bank has also allowed members to go online, to receive assistance during the pandemic.
Rose Miller, grants manager JN Foundation, advised viewers and listeners, that “budgeting” was critical during this period of job losses, salary cuts and furloughs, because good money management would ensure survival.
“We need to pay attention to where we shop. Sometimes, where we shop influences the prices. As we go shopping, we need to take advantage of discounts, if we have coupons, we should use them. Any percentage by which we can reduce the final bill, is a sum that we can put towards something else,” she advised.