Home » How Lee-Chin turned NCBFG into a payments powerhouse 

How Lee-Chin turned NCBFG into a payments powerhouse 

The chairman of the largest financial group in the Caribbean has a vision of creating a centralized ecosystem platform for customers

by Victor Adetimilehin
Michael Lee-Chin

As chairman of NCB Financial Group Limited (NCBFG), Michael Lee-Chin has been a huge influence in transforming the company into a giant in the Caribbean’s payments industry. With his vision to drive efficiency, governance and customer experience (EGC), NCBFG launched many innovative products and services, which expanded their market share, and skyrocketed its revenue.

According to the Jamaican Observer, NCBFG’s primary success driver is its payments segment, which consists of NCB Jamaica Limited (NCBJ), the largest commercial bank in Jamaica, and TFOB (2021) Limited, operator of the Lynk mobile wallet. NCBFG payments segment was able to increase its revenue to $30.25 billion, an increase of 19 percent in the 2023 financial year. They pulled this off despite the numerous challenges they faced during the pandemic and the attacks on automated banking machines (ABMs) and security couriers.

NCBJ’s core payments business covers issuing, card acquisition and POS devices, which grew in revenue by 20 percent, driven by an increase in transaction volumes and card receivables. NCBJ also introduced new initiatives, like the NCB Pay mobile app, the ability to process American Express cards, and the deployment of new Verifone POS machines across its network. NCBJ is responsible for almost 37 percent of ABMs and over 60 percent of POS devices issued in Jamaica.

The Lynk mobile wallet is operated by TFOB, acquired by NCBFG in 2021 and has onboarded over 200,000 customers within a year. Lynk was the first entity in Jamaica to offer CBDC (central bank digital currency) acceptance, in partnership with the Bank of Jamaica, which launched its pilot project in June 2023. Lynk also offers other features, such as bill payments, peer-to-peer transfers, and merchant payments.

The management of Lynk was taken over from TFOB by NCBJ in Oct 2023, in order to capitalise on the synergies with NCBJ’s ecosystem strategy and broaden its customer base. Danielle Cameron-Duncan, who was the NCBJ’s vice-president of payments and digital channels is now the manager of Lynk. He is responsible for driving up the adoption and utilisation of the  Lynk payment system. He is also tasked with launching new products and service lines. Lynk plans to unveil a virtual card service this quarter in a move that hopes to onboard Western Union remittance services in its partnership with GraceKennedy Limited.

Since 2002 when Lee-Chin became the chairman of NCBFG, he has implemented innovative strategies which has earned him the title of a visionary leader. In line with his business acumen, Lee-Chin founded Portland Holdings — a privately held investment company that owns several businesses across different economic sectors like financial services, media, healthcare, and tourism. To his credit, Lee-Chin is recognized by Forbes as one of the richest people in Canada, with an estimated worth of $1.4 billion.

Like many successful businesspeople, Lee-Chin is a notable philanthropist, donating to several causes across education, health, arts, and culture in millions of dollars. He is the patron of the National Commercial Bank Foundation, and has supported education and community development in Jamaica. He has also made significant contributions to institutions such as the Royal Ontario Museum, the Rotman School of Management, and the University of the West Indies.

Lee-Chin’s vision is to create a centralized ecosystem platform that will enable ease in banking, insurance, financial products, and payment options for customers, through  NCBFG. He believes that with digital technology and innovation, NCBFG can lower service costs and provide a competitive user experience. He also plans to raise more capital for NCBFG through an additional public offering (APO), that will provide more financial flexibility, and reduce the company’s overall debt.

In Jamaica and across the Caribbean, NCBFG is the largest profitable financial group and has assets worth over $1.7 trillion and a net profit of over $28 billion in the 2023 financial year. NCBFG currently operates in 21 countries across the Caribbean, and offers a range of services, such as banking, wealth management, insurance, pension fund management, and stock brokerage. NCBFG’s stock price closed at $67.83 on the Jamaica Stock Exchange and at TT$2.85 ($0.41) on the Trinidad & Tobago Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

NCBFG’s payments segment is well positioned to continue growing, as it taps into the increase in the region’s demand for digital and mobile payments. With Lee-Chin in charge, NCBFG is set to achieve its vision of becoming a global financial group that creates value for its stakeholders and contributes to the development of the Caribbean.

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