Record-setting VM Group
Victoria Mutual (VM) Group is reporting net surplus of $2.64 billion for 2020, the best in the history of the financial services entity.
The result is 23.68 per cent above the previous year and 41.69 per cent above the pre-COVID-19 budget. It was driven by a one-off gain from the purchase of loan receivables under the National Housing Trust Joint Mortgage Financing Programme with Victoria Mutual Building Society (VMBS), where the group’s revenue grew by 31.9 per cent to $14.96 billion, the organisation stated in its just-released report.
Total assets increased by $7.04 billion (2.88 per cent) to $251.85 billion, reflecting strong growth in both on- and off-balance sheet assets.
In 2020, VM issued over $14.52 billion in mortgages, 24.76 per cent higher than the previous year.
The institution disbursed $24.95 billion in total loans, 39.1 per cent higher than 2019.
In the United Kingdom, VM Finance’s portfolio of specialised property loans increased by 85.62 per cent to £34.35 million. VM Group’s commitment to mutuality continues to be strong, as the business provided members and clients with $355 million in benefits through discounted fees across several products and services as well as lower mortgage and other loan rates.
Positive outlook for the future
The group said it will continue to expand its reach in Jamaica as well as other Caribbean and Latin American territories. The 2020 launch of VM Group’s new fintech arm, VM Innovations Limited, is one indicator of its growth-focused, industry-disrupting posture for the future.
This new subsidiary has as its mandate to purposefully hunt and exploit strategically aligned growth opportunities. VM Group President and Chief Executive Officer Courtney Campbell boasted about the solid performance of the organisation, which he said was “primarily due to the unrelenting commitment of the VM team to transforming lives, as well as the long-standing trust and loyalty of VM’s members and clients”.
According to Campbell, “VM’s executive team was proactive and ensured that even as the dark clouds of COVID-19 approached Jamaica, a robust plan was being effected to minimise the impact on our members, clients and team members. Our team members responded with remarkable agility and focus to ensure that, even as the economy was dealt harsh blows by the pandemic, the people we served were being taken care of and supported in the most active and meaningful ways possible.”
He pointed out that, “Victoria Mutual has, for generations, stood with the people of Jamaica through many seasons. COVID-19, though formidable, is not enough to shake our commitment to uplifting Jamaicans through the provision of life-improving financial products, services and education.”
Campbell declared that VM takes its role in its customers’ financial journey very seriously, noting that the results and activities during 2020 — a year unlike any before — shows just how hard VM will work for those it serves.
Standing with members and clients
VM offered support to members and clients to help them get through the tough times in 2020. This support included reduced charges and fees for certain services, suspension of some penalties, moratorium arrangements and loan extensions, depending on the need of the member.
The organisation stayed close to its members and clients via drastically increased e-mail and social media communications, webinars, online fora, as well as a dedicated member-support page on its website. VM also continued to expand its product offerings and enhanced its delivery channels, including an expansion of its network of intelligent automated bank machines (ABMs) and introduction of a mobile banking app.
VM Wealth Management Limited also expanded its network with the opening of four new locations in 2020, improving accessibility to its products and services, launching last year a Premium Wealth Service featuring targeted value-added products and services, as well as a Client Management Portal, which gives clients convenient digital access to their accounts.
Important milestones being attained
Another important milestone, the company said, was achieved in December 2019 with the public launch of Carilend Jamaica, a fully online lending platform. In September 2019, VM Wealth’s parent company, Victoria Mutual Investments Limited, acquired a 30 per cent stake in Carilend, an innovative fintech company headquartered in Barbados.
The organisation also reported that VM Money Transfer services launched Jamaica’s most convenient direct-to-account facility in 2020, which allows clients to receive remittances directly in their bank accounts. They can then use their VM Express debit cards to withdraw the funds from ABMs or make purchases at point-of-sale facilities.
VM Pensions Management Limited relaunched its Approved Retirement Scheme (ARS) product in 2020 to help secure people’s financial future, enabling them to truly look forward to better days.
VM has been earnest in its efforts to advance financial education, through online fora and seminars, digital newsletters and videos, to ensure that even as its members and clients adjusted to the fast-changing reality last year, they consistently had access to the best products, services and information to improve their circumstances and achieve financial well-being.
Supporting the Results-Focused VM Team
In 2020, VM Group’s existing flexi-work and remote work policies were activated at enhanced levels, with approximately 40 per cent of the team working remotely. During this time of increased physical distance, the team stayed close and remained able and was encouraged to share feedback and insights through frequent digital townhall sessions and other media.
Team members and their families were also able to access cost-free, mental health support from Family Life Ministries. These efforts were complemented by frequent pop-up virtual concerts and events to help team members smile and relax during a tough year, the organisation reported.