BoJ issues new service standards for operation of ABMs

MP Fitz Jackson and Opposition Spokesman on Finance Julian Robinson
By Prince Moore
The Bank of Jamaica has issued new service-level standards for the operation of Automated Banking Machines by deposit-taking institutions which are regulated by the Central Bank 
The new standards were issued on Tuesday and deposit taking institutions have  a nine-month transition period to bring themselves into conformity with the guidelines.
The Central Bank says compliance will be assessed through its review and publication of monthly reports from deposit taking institutions. It adds that no monetary sanction will be applied as a result of breaches of the guidelines; however, non-adherence may give rise to supervisory concerns around safety and soundness with the attendant supervisory consequences. 
The BOJ will issue monthly reports on the performance of each deposit taking institution's fleet of ABMs.
These reports will include the geographical distribution of ABMs, the number of machines that were installed, and the proportion of ABMs that were operational for the reporting period.
They must also state the up-time for operational machines over the period and the recovery time for malfunctioning machines.
The ABM standards have been issued at a time when, despite the increasing availability and use of electronic payment methods, a significant number of Jamaicans still rely on cash to conduct transactions.
Additionally there have been numerous complaints about malfunctioning ABMs or multiple ABM's being out of cash.
The BoJ says the service-level standards have been developed as best practice principles governing the management and oversight of ABMs.
It says the standards also form part of ongoing work to promote fairer treatment and enhanced protection for financial consumers. 
The issuing of the standards follows consultations between the BOJ and deposit taking institutions.
According to the BoJ, the new framework will be supported by appropriate legislation under the Twin Peaks system of financial sector regulation which is being developed. 
The standards also form part of the practicing of the Twin Peaks regime ahead of the passage of supporting legislation.
They address the availability of cash, infrastructure maintenance and the management of service disruption.
ABM fees and charges, the deployment of machines, accessibility and ease-of-use, fraud minimisation, the safety and security of customers and financial education of ABM users are also included in the service standards.
These guidelines have been published on the website of the BoJ.
Opposition response
It was opposition parliamentarian Fitz Jackson who moved a resolution  during the Sitting of the House of Representatives on January 30, calling for minimum standards to be established.
In his first reaction to the announced minimum standards for ABM Service Mr Jackson told Radio Jamaica News he welcomed this move by the Central Bank.
Opposition Spokesman on Finance Julian Robinson also responded, urging the BOJ to provide greater clarity on how it will ensure that banks are conforming with the new service standards.
With the BOJ saying no monetary sanction will be applied as a result of breaches of the guidelines, Mr Robinson says it should be clear in its message to deposit taking institutions.

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