More US$ for NCB Financial Group

NCB Financial Group went to the international market to raise US$175 million in funds from the issuance of diversified payment rights for payments due from correspondent banks, up the amount taken to US$250 million.

NCB Financial Montego Bay branch

According to the banking group in a release on September 22, “the Board of Directors of National Commercial Bank Jamaica has approved an upsizing of the Securitization of its Diversified Payment Rights to up to, Two Hundred and Fifty Million United States Dollars following an oversubscription of the transaction.” The transaction will be rated by FITCH Ratings and placed in the International private placement market by Westwood Capital LLC, as Arranger.
The transaction will swell the pool of foreign currency the bank will have at its disposal for lending or investing. At the end of the 2019 fiscal year ending September, NCB Group owed just US$50 million but owed US$309 million on Merchant voucher receivables.
NCB Group is listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange and owns the majority of shares in Guardian Holdings, a Trinidadian based listed company and Clarien Bank in Bermuda.

Fitch upgrades Jamaica’s economic outlook

International rating agency, Fitch Ratings, in their most recent rating on Jamaica, affirmed the country’s long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings at ‘B’ and revised the outlook from “Stable” to “Positive”.
According to information released by the Ministry of Finance, the rating action was predicated on the improvements in the macroeconomic and fiscal indicators. The ratings were also supported by the country’s structural strengths, such as relatively high income per capita and social indicators, policy consensus and relatively strong institutional capacity.
The press release highlighted a number of positives which led to latest positive ratings. The factors are macroeconomic stability continues to improve, the public debt to GDP ratio continues on a downward trajectory, Government is on course to record another primary fiscal surplus of around 7 percent of GDP for the current fiscal year, which is equivalent to an overall balanced budget. The other factors are, appreciation of Jamaica dollar relative to the US dollar, Bank of Jamaica benchmark overnight rates have been lowered, external finances are on a sustainable path and external liquidity has improved.