Love as a Business Strategy with JMMB Group

EPISODE 31

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This week, we have the Chief Marketing Officer of the JMMB Group, Kerry-Ann Stimpson, joining us to explain how love can be evident in the most unlikely of places: the banking industry. JMMB Group was founded on love and is still practiced daily with their employees, clients, and shareholders. Listen now to this deep dive on the JMMB Group and all that they're doing to spread the love. 

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Feel the love! We aren't experts - we're practitioners. With a passion that's a mix of equal parts strategy and love, we explore the human (and fun) side of work and business every week together.

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Jeff Ma
Host

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Kerry-Ann Stimpson
Chief Marketing Officer, JMMB Group

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Mohammad Anwar
President

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Frank Danna
Director

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Transcript

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Jeff Ma
Hello, and welcome to Love as a Business Strategy, a podcast that brings humanity to the workplace. We're here to talk about business, but we want to tackle topics that most business leaders shy away from. We believe that humanity and love should be at the center of every successful business. I'm your host, Jeff Ma. I'm a director at Softway, a business to employee solutions company that creates products and offers services that help build resilience and high-performance company cultures. I'm joined today by our President and CEO, Mohammad Anwar. Hey, Mohammed.

Mohammad Anwar
Hi , guys.

Jeff Ma
And Frank Danna, our director, Frank.

Frank Danna
Hello.

Jeff Ma
Awesome. And as you all know, each episode, we're diving into one element of business or strategy and testing our theory of love against it. And one of the most amazing things about this work that we do, and also doing this podcast is that we get the opportunity to meet so many amazing people, and see how love as a business strategy plays out in people in businesses all around the world. And today, we had the opportunity to opportunity to learn about a company that was literally founded with love as their business strategy. And in one of the last industries that you might expect, which is banking. So I'm really excited to welcome to the show, the CMO for the JMMB Group, Kerry-Ann Stimpson. Hello, Kerry-Ann, welcome.

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
Hi, Jeff. Hi, guys. Thank you for having me. This is like so exciting. I'm really looking forward to this conversation. And, and I'm loving Frank's facial expressions right now.

Frank Danna
That's the only reason I'm here. To throw out random facial expressions to keep people entertained.

Jeff Ma
So we're super pumped to learn about you, Kerry-Ann, and dive into JMMB's business. But before we begin, we have a tradition of doing an icebreaker real quick. So I'll make it easy on you. I'll start with Frank, and I'll move around to you. And we'll all have the same questions. So we have time to prepare, Frank. Yeah. What's your favorite time of day, and why?

Frank Danna
Favorite time of day is gonna be right around 6:45am to seven o'clock am that that is a sweet spot for me. Because I've woken up. And I've taken my pre workout and I'm chilling on the couch playing some Mario Kart on my phone, waiting for the pre workout to kick in. So I can head over to the gym. But no one is awake. My entire house is completely quiet. And it's my favorite time of day because it also gives me a chance to think to reflect, to prepare for the day. And that 15 to 20 minutes of just sitting alone downstairs. Sounds kind of sad. But actually that's my favorite part of the day. Like the favorite moment of the day is is quiet.

Jeff Ma
Nice answer tough to follow up. But Mohammad, you're gonna have to do that. So Mohammad, what is your favorite time of day and why?

Mohammad Anwar
My favorite time of the day would be right before going to bed. Because I am able to watch my TV shows and wind down and be able to fall asleep. So I like the last part of the day when I'm just like, everything's done for the day work is over. And now just me time watching some TV shows. And you know, my wife doesn't like it all the time, though. But I watch some TV shows and I fall asleep. That's the best part.

Jeff Ma
Nice. So we got a wind up we got to wind down so I can't wait to hear Kerry-Ann. What is your favorite time of day and why?

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
Anytime after my kids go to bed.

Frank Danna
Oh, don't tell them. Are they gonna listen to this podcast?

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
Probably not. But the thing is, they actually kind of know that because I'm very religious about bedtime. I'm like, Okay, guys, eight o'clock. bedtime because they're like I said, Look, when you go to bed is when I get a chance to think, to breathe. I'm sorry, it is what it is right? Once they go to bed, life is good.

Jeff Ma
And 10 points to Kerry-Ann because that is the correct answer I was looking for. I think we can all agree that was the best answer.

Mohammad Anwar
Jeff, what is yous?

Jeff Ma
That's exactly 100% ask my wife the exact same answer. It's literally she and I have to like tag team or like let's get them in bed is the struggle. And then they're finally like you close that door and it's quiet inside. It's like freedom. It's like there's no better feeling.

Frank Danna
The worst moment though is that five minutes where they have it there's a chance they open the door and walk out and asked Oh yeah, right. And you're just like you're on edge because you can't fully like recline into the into the couch. You've got to like, prepare for that five minute buffer zone. Where and you know, I know that's that's that's probably the worst part of the day. Right there. In that moment,

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
Like, what are you getting out of bed?

Frank Danna
Go back to bed. This is my time.

Jeff Ma
So we all have a lot in common. Clearly, we all understand this concept. But I want to move into our our topic for sure. And Kerry-Ann, obviously, I want to open with you and I maybe just take a little moment here. Could you introduce yourself a little more and tell us about JMMB Group at a high level?

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
Sure. Thank you. So I am, well, you've probably picked it up from my accent a little bit. I'm Jamaican. I'm coming to you now from Kingston, Jamaica, where it's a wonderful 89 degrees. And sorry, guys. Yeah, we're open, we're open, come on down. And I'm the Chief Marketing Officer, CMO of JMMB Group, and JMMB we're just under 30 years old. We're about 28 years old. And we started out in Kingston, Jamaica, as a small money market brokerage house. And since that time, we've grown into a regional and when I say regional, regional across the entire Caribbean, basically, we have operations, not only in Jamaica, but in Trinidad and Tobago, and in the Dominican Republic, and we are an integrated Financial Group of Companies. So not only are we in investing, where we do stocks, bonds, mutual funds, but we also have a bank, an Insurance Brokerage, consumer micro finance company, and a money transfer business as well. So we are an integrated Financial Group of Companies in the Caribbean. That's what we do. And that's our day job.

Jeff Ma
Yeah, I just want to read for the audience, something on your website, under your mission, it says everything we do at JMMB is ultimately to help everyone to experience love, and to realize the greatness in themselves, their families, and their communities. And another section says, our core values of love, care, integrity, honesty, and openness are demonstrated in everything that we do, and everything that we are. And I love that I love seeing that on your you know, just front and center on your on your mission statement there. Can you tell us a little bit about what love means to JMMB?

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
Great question. So just to be clear, love for us is not a strategy. And it's not a brand positioning that we sat in a nice boardroom and you know, kind of came up with it and devised it. Okay, love sounds great. Let's go with that. It's It actually started from the reason why JMMB was founded in the first place. So JMMB started from Jamaica, Money Market Brokers, JMMB, that acronym, and it was co founded by two people, Joan Duncan, who unfortunately is no longer with us. She passed many years ago, and Dr. Noah Lyon, who certainly is still very much with us, and they wanted to create money market brokerage, a financial institution that does a couple of things. So the first thing is, is that money market, the money market really wasn't open to the average Jamaican in the early 90s, when we were founded, and the only way that the average everyday Jamaican could earn on their savings essentially was in a commercial bank, you know, interest rates aren't that great. So how can we give access to the money market to the everyday Jamaican with a few $100. But Joan herself was a wonderful woman, based on her own personal belief system. She believed in the power of the human spirit, she believed, first of all, that all human beings irrespective of your race, your social standing, what family you came from, we're all created equal, and that we all have inherent greatness within us. And she also believed in the power of love, to help that human being to help each human being to realize that greatness. And so in creating a financial institution, you're talking about not only empowering your customers to achieve their financial dreams by giving them the financial products and services to do that. But it's how are we supporting and partnering with our clients in the spirit of love to demonstrate that love to them so that they can realize the inherent greatness that is already within them? And so that was where we were founded on the basis of love. And so we are loved. That's how we live. That's how we serve each other as team members. And that's how we serve our clients. And that's the basis on which we were founded and continue to operate.

Frank Danna
That's amazing. My first my first question is, you know, it sounds like love is very much a verb. Love is something that you are constantly acting out. Give me an example of one of those moments where love is brought into, like in a very tangible way someone actually is able to feel the love that your organization is able to provide.

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
So, I love that you asked that question because there's a tangible and there's the intangible. So in the in the in the tangible way. I mean, one of the top ways you see that is in terms of how we do business with our clients, you know, I always raised the point that even down to the very fees that we charge and don't charge that's driven by love. So you know, a lot of the times the banks get and and the financial institutions get raked over the coals, because we charge what many clients would call nuisance fees, you know, we're not going to charge you a fee if you do a transaction online. But if you come into our branch and do it with a teller, then we're going to charge you a fee. We don't do that, because we don't believe in that it's inconsistent with again, the spirit with which we see our clients, right? So there are those tangible things. And then the intangible is about well, how are we interacting with our clients. So you come in, first of all, you're greeted at the door by someone who is part of the culture of love and giving that is inherent in who we are. And this is from the security guard right down to any team member that you interact with. So it comes out in that interaction, it comes out in the financial conversations, right? So let's say a client comes in, they want they have a particular financial goal. And maybe the solution that we have for them is not the best solution for that goal. And maybe it exists at our competitors, we'll refer you to our competitors over there, they have a solution that's better for you.

Frank Danna
It's the right time to do.

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
It is the right thing to do. And that kind of authentic engagement is what again, is an example of how we actually partner with our clients in a way that they can trust and rely on.

Frank Danna
So I have another question for you. How do you teach that culture? How do you how do you make sure that the culture is is consistent? And obviously it's it's not going to be 100% consistent between person to person because humans are humans. But in regards to teaching that and equipping that, and then sustaining that culture, I'm wondering, what are some of the things that you've been able to do to create that and propel it over the years, like hiring a security guard and, and bringing them in and that onboarding process, I mean, how does that, how does that work? And then, secondly, how is it sustained?

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
So the onboarding process, as you rightly pointed out, is critical. So it starts with how are you hiring, you know, the kinds of people that you're going to hire. So the types of psychometric and other kinds of testing activities that are part of the recruiting process gives you that kind of feedback upfront. And of course, when you are on boarded, initially, you're put through at least a week or two of orientation that takes you from the history of the company, to the culture to what it is we're trying to perpetuate what there's one particular component called the JMMB way, which is really a couple days of, you're sitting with a bunch of us team members, you're in different departments, what what you're really doing is you're having authentic conversations about how you see yourself, how you see humanity. And in those conversations, what you're really doing is you're trying to peel back the layers that perhaps inhibit you from seeing the greatness in yourself, and also helps to peel back the layers of helping you to see the greatness in others as well. Because as you rightly pointed out, because people are people and a lot of us are coming from different backgrounds, not only in the work environment and the career environment within our personal lives as well. People also be coming in with their own interpretation of what love is some people have a lot of baggage dealing with. And so it's very important that early in the journey, we get to the bottom of well, how do you interpret love? How are you seeking love? Are there any inhibitors that are preventing you from showing love expressing love and loving yourself? And once were able to clean up all of those kind of cobwebs, as I put it, it really opens the door for you to be able to express that in a way that's consistent with what it is we're trying to deliver as a company.

Frank Danna
That's so stinking cool.

Mohammad Anwar
I think something interesting you mentioned Kerry-Ann was like how you peel the layers to identify the greatness in themselves and look for the greatness in others. And something parallel that we've tried to do our strive to do at Softway is we we have a tip that says if you want to love your team members and love your coworkers, the way that you achieve that is by looking for the goodness in others. And when you are able to focus on the goodness in others you find ways to have the care and endearment towards your teammates. So I see that parallel of greatness. How to find greatness and others and how to goodness and others, and it's very similar.

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
Yes, it's very similar. I mean, when we speak of greatness, we're talking about the potentiality of what is resident in the individual and can come out. And again, the power of love to be able to bring that forth. And as you said, you you're coming from a place of goodness. I always like to reminisce on stories about Joan Duncan, when she's talking about communicating, you're communicating with someone, not from a place of ego, but from a place of spirit, you're communicating spirit to spirit, and really just recognizing that. You know, people, people, yes, are people, but there is still so much goodness there to be on earth. And again, how you express that love and identity is really a powerful way to be able to bring that forth.

Mohammad Anwar
Very cool.

Frank Danna
Yeah, I want to, I want to know a little bit about some of the pushback you've gotten, not from your not from your clients, necessarily, because I, if I'm coming to your bank, and I'm not getting First of all, if I'm in Jamaica, that's a plus number one. But secondly, or Trinidad and Tobago, any of those places I'm in, right? But if I'm coming into your bank, and I'm surprised and delighted at every turn, because I don't have the same fees that others have. I'm being treated as a human spirit to spirit. I'm not talking about the customer, I'm talking about the employees, when you have people that push back against that culture, what are some of the ways that you communicate the value or have to prove out the value to people who may have come from pasts where they hear the word love, and they push it away? And they're not willing to engage because they, they haven't ever seen that tangibly manifest in ways that are proactive or beneficial for them?

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
Yeah, that's a great question. And I know for us, in addition to the JMMB way session that everybody has to kind of go through, we're very big on empowering team members to know how we can support each other and hold each other accountable in the moment, you know, so we all sign on to the vision of love statement that again, spells out what is the kind of company we're trying to build. And at the same time, we also tell team members that look, you are a part of the solution, you are empowered to hold each other to the standard that we have agreed to, you know, I, I remember the story I share all the time that there was once I had a very bad encounter with a fellow executive, unfortunately, I did not meet their expectations with an activity that I was supposed to be delivering on. And they were very upset. And they were literally they got so upset, they started to shout at me. And they chose in a public space where other team members are witnessing what was going on. And of course, we are looking, okay, this is look like it's gonna be a blown up argument. And I remember looking at him, and I said, Okay, I understand that you're upset. But I recognize that how you're speaking to right now is inconsistent with the values that you and I have signed on to. And so I'm going to recommend that we start this conversation walk away, and come back when we're able to do that. And he literally just pulled back. And this is someone who, I guess people would be shocked out about how he was able to pull it back. But again, because we know that we've signed on to this thing, we have agreed to it. And even if in certain moments, it's gonna be difficult to live out or to, or to see it translate in just into an interaction with someone else

Frank Danna
You're committed,

Unknown Speaker
We're committed, and we hold each other accountable, and we are comfortable with being held accountable as well. So actually, that's a practical example. It's just really helping team members to understand that that they are empowered to live the vision through so whether it's from the chairman, right down to the janitorial staff, everybody is empowered, everybody's equal. And we're all about living this vision together.

Mohammad Anwar
Very powerful.

Jeff Ma
I love it. I love it. I'm curious does does all this kind of intangible element within the organization, all these connecting, you know, values? Do they How do they paint the picture of how they play out in terms of policies and like the tangible things internally so for for staff and employees that really enforce this? We, you know, at Softway, we firmly believe that it starts with that behavior and that culture of love and having the right mindsets around that is what helps the people who make policies and make decisions and implement tools. That's what helps. You know, that's important to have that in place before you tackle process and tools in order to make sure that you're doing them with the right intent with the right outcomes and being efficient with that, right. So I'm just curious with with all this foundational kind of value that you have in place, what kind of processes and tools have come out of that?

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
Well, well, from from you mentioned the word policy. And that's really where it starts for us in policy. Incidentally, before I even go any further languaging is a very important thing for us, there are certain words that we will not use, because of the negative implications that it can have. So for instance, I actually just made a boo boo a while ago, I use the word staff, we don't use the word staff, you don't use the word employees, we say team members, right? Because of the thinking that team members connotes a greater coming together and integration of us as being part of again, this larger vision of expression of love. And so to use words like staff and employees or subordinates, no. I see Frank's face. So yeah, so languaging is very important for us certain words we will use and will not use in how we interact and engage with each other is important. And so when we talk about policy policies, also not a word, I mean, we have them, but we don't use them. Because again, it's about communicating spirit to spirit and allowing people to be motivated and engaged to act in a particular way, as opposed to being browbeaten to follow a particular path. So how we do it, as far as what we put in place is, first of all, we're very people centric organization. So, of course, our clients are a very important part of our family. But we recognize that it's our team members that allow us to be able to share the vision and empower our clients to achieve their goals. So we try to ensure that our team members feel the love as well in terms of a very comfortable working environment. So some very practical examples, there are certain benefits that you would get at JMMB that are very unique to the Jamaican market. So and under wider Caribbean market, even things like free childcare, you know, or subsidized childcare, depending on which city you work in. Breastfeeding facilities that you can go, I mean, my child is in the daycare center, I can go and breastfeed in a nice private room and go back to work. I don't have to worry, you know about being able to continue that after maternity leave is over, you know, three months maternity leave, there's paternity leave as well. Other benefits like health and wellness benefits are gorgeous well health and wellness fitness center where they're free classes in yoga and Pilates and kickboxing, and equipment and paid instructors that come in and help you to stay fit, and healthy, awesome seminars on different things from family planning to relationships, you get a certain number of sessions each year free counseling, we have a strategic partnership with a counseling center, where every year you get a certain amount of hours where you can go confidentially to the Counseling Center and get counseling on anything at all personal or professional. And the counseling center just sends a bill to JMMB. So they we don't know which employees took advantage of it. We don't know what you talked about. We just know we have a bill to pay. And we paid and team members have that benefit. So it's just an example of some of the great things that we do that help team members to feel the love, feel supported, and are empowered ultimately to be able to serve.

Frank Danna
You know, what's what's interesting about what you mentioned, is that when we started this conversation we talked about I asked for tangible ways that that love is expressed. The first thing you didn't do was you didn't talk about the perks and benefits. You didn't talk about the childcare, the health and wellness stuff, you didn't talk about paternity leave or maternity leave. You talked about a culture where people feel empowered, cared for and loved. And then secondarily, the policies sorry. There needs to be like a buzzer, I need to get it I need to get hit for the the benefit that you that have. It's almost like these are features of your culture coming out of the desire for people to be cared. But the primary responsibility is not to have kickboxing classes, the primary responsibility is to help people feel and actively know that they're nurtured and cared for.

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
Absolutely.

Frank Danna
Because if those perks and benefits went away, there would still be a place where people feel cared for. And I think that's what's interesting about it is because you could have gone that direction. But instead you you talked about how people are made to feel and how people engage. Right. So I think that's very cool.

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
Absolutely. And it's going back to real needs, you know, and recognizing that even when you talk about benefits and so on. There's a benefit that we have. So We also get a free meal every day. So we get lunch that's taken care of a nice full cooked meal, which, for a lot of our team members, that's the only meal they'll ever eat on any given day, depending on their financial situation. But we also have this thing called break time where mid morning, someone comes around with a tray of fruit, a fruit plate or sandwich or some pastry. And why we do that is not because Oh, you didn't have breakfast, and it's going to be a while to lunch necessarily, but because we know you're working so hard to serve our clients, that you may not be able to eat lunch on time. So at about 10 o'clock, we're going to give this to you to tide you over until whenever you're able to have lunch. It's those kinds of little things. And even though that we're in COVID time, if I may just be completely honest, we've had to make decisions around profit, share payments, and so on. Because COVID was was was was upon us. And we knew that, you know, like every business, you know, we've been impacted by the situation. And honest discussions with team members, guys, we can't pay profit share, like how we normally do for the next two quarters. So we're asking for your understanding. And team members accept that because we know that if the company could, they would, and we know that once they're able to they will. And so it comes back to again that that partnership between the organization, the team members and the client, where everybody is trusting each other's intentions, because the evidence has been put forward time and time again.

Frank Danna
Listen, I'm gonna come moonlight at JMMB and get those snacks.

Mohammad Anwar
I was gonna say we should move our headquarters to Jamaica and share your office space.

Frank Danna
We're packing up this this office. But I did I do want to say like it's such, it's so fascinating to me, it reminds me of Chris Pitre, who's one of the other co hosts of this. He always dreamed of a guacamole card of someone walking by your your office or your or your desk and just making you some fresh guacamole and pop it open a Topo Chico and handing it that sounds a lot like that.

Mohammad Anwar
So I have a another question, Kerry-Ann, like you're in the investment business and financial business and, you know, most businesses out there, their strategy to success is prioritize your shareholders. You do you make all your business decisions based on how is it going to benefit the shareholders? How is this gonna make more money for the shareholders? Right? And all the decisions are driven by that. You're in that very business, but instead of prioritizing your shareholders, it seems like you're prioritizing your staff. And sorry, not that word sorry, I used that. Apologies.

Mohammad Anwar
We'll edit it out. We'll delete it.

Frank Danna
We can't!

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
You can say it, I just can't!

Frank Danna
Your team!

Mohammad Anwar
How has that ended up? balancing the need to keep your shareholders satisfied? And or, you know, profitable and have their dividends? Is like how does that work for you? What have been the results in terms of your profitability and your business outcomes? And how have you kept your shareholders happy, although you are prioritizing your people, which is very counterintuitive to a business, and just love to hear your thoughts there?

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
And that's another great question. Because well, to be clear, we are a publicly listed company, we're not privately owned. So we're listed on both the Jamaica Stock Exchange and the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange. But a couple of things, too, is that you talk about prioritizing our team members. So the first thing is we're shareholders too. So we do have an employee share ownership plan, where once you you pass probation and you're confirmed as a full time permanent team member, you get assigned a certain block of shares consistent with with with the level in the organization that you're at. And you don't even have to pay for them if you don't want to there's a way that they work it out where they would pay for themselves through the dividend payments over time. Right. And the beauty about that is when you have team members who are also shareholders that that that that's great because even if you do prioritize the team members, they're the shareholders too. They're going to be looking out for the organization. But to be very frank, and it's something that my CEO has said a couple of times, that same love expression, we extend it to our shareholders as well. So if you can come to like an annual general meeting when we used to be able to have 200 people in our room, that kind of same culture of love and sharing an extension in terms of just hold the event is executed is there. But he also is very clear that because of who we are, and the decisions that we've made, there are certain things you should not expect to happen from us. So with due respect a lot of our competitors, again, charge fees that we don't charge. And so when you look at their financial statements and the percentage of income, that fees take up because of the fees that they charge, we'll never experienced that, because we're just not going to charge those fees. Okay. And so what we say to our shareholders, you know, we're going to continue to deliver maximum return for you as best as we can. But we're not necessarily going to be big bank a, you know, as far as the profitability necessarily, yeah, because of our size. But, again, we're not going to do anything that's inconsistent with who we are. I'm sure those people who buy shares in they'll still buy shares in us because they're aligned with that vision. And of course, we do deliver performance. But we are very unapologetic about that. And those who are aligned with the vision, they are the ones who will buy shares, and those who don't won't.

Mohammad Anwar
So essentially, morality is valued higher than just what is business rationality? In a traditional sense.

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
Yes, in terms of how we interpret it, yes, I mean, we respect to every organization's right to make decisions in a way that's consistent with what they value. But for us, this is what we have chosen and continue to live by. And so we invite the same respect.

Frank Danna
But there's also this interesting connection to the shareholders seeing the I mean, you've mentioned it as morality, Mohammad, but seeing that that empathy that you put into the work that you're doing, the values that you have, and they're okay with not making potentially, like, there's, they're seeing the opportunity with your institution, and they're willing to make that commitment. Because they're aligned to that vision. So that's very interesting to me that it's like, hey, they can choose to go elsewhere. But they recognize what you're doing, and they're not going to come to you and demand that you instigate these additional fees, because they're looking to maximize xy and z, they see the value just as much as you do. And so there's this interesting amount of alignment between the shareholders who may or may not be employees, and, you know, your actual team. So I'm sorry, I said, employees.

Jeff Ma
I was, I was extremely excited to hear more about JMMB, specifically, because here you have this, you know, three decade old organization that has been doing a lot of the things that we are, you know, actively learned ourselves over the last few years, and are trying so hard to spread out into the world. And, you know, one of the at the crux of that, really, for me, is that there's this perception or this understanding in today's business, kind of what Mohammad was saying earlier, that, that, that doing what's financially beneficial, like highest return highest revenue, is a polar opposite of doing some of the things that is right by people, that's right for the society, right? You know, for morality, whatever you want to call it, people draw that on a spectrum, right? And they feel like it's a lever, they have to pull one way or the other. And we've always believed, and we continue to push, that they're not opposites, that they're one in the same when done right, that you can accomplish both. And so I guess my question for you, if you're willing to share it would be what are what are your business outcomes? Like, what from you? You've been talking about all these great things that are, you know, right in the world, I'm 100% on board, but I'd love to share with people. What is the actual, you know, financial results? Do you have any of that you can share?

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
Well, I guess if I were to share it, it would be in Jamaican dollars, which really sounds fantastic to talk about. Jamaican dollars. But you know, I mean, we we have a track record of really high performance, as far as our financials are concerned, consistently a profitable organization, one of the top performing entities on the stock exchanges in the Caribbean, as well, in Jamaica, and in Trinidad. And it's one of those companies that shareholders know that, you know, you can always rely on JMMB to really deliver solid performance. And we've also been growing through acquisition, both partially and, and and entirely a complete acquisition of entities across the Caribbean as well. In fact, more entrance into Trinidad and the DR would be through acquiring of other entities as well. So our track, track track record of performance is there. Now I think what we've also been just very clear about is is that how we see Is that once you deliver that value to the customer, which actually customers a bad word to we say client. Yeah, so when we deliver value to clients and shareholders, we believe that they will come, you know, and we believe in a mindset of abundance as opposed to scarcity. So while we may never be big bank a, so maybe in the case of the US will never be by Bank of America, we have an example in terms of being the probably the largest bank in the country by size or branch network, but we deliver respectable and solid returns because again, for the niche that we've been able to create, because of what we stand for, we've been doing so well. And it goes well, for our shareholders, it does well, for our team members. And yeah, again, we're not Bank A, but we're doing very, very well for those people who invest in us. And we're good with that. We're good with that. And, and that's something that we always encourage people to think about is that again, it's about a mindset of abundance, you can own a niche, you can work that niche, and you can do very, very well at it. And and it's gonna be just fine. You don't necessarily have to be the biggest, baddest kid on the block to do very well. And that's how we see it.

Jeff Ma
I couldn't agree more.

Frank Danna
Yeah, putting love to work.

Mohammad Anwar
I have a question. So why in your belief, do you think more competitors in your industry have not adopted to this culture of love?

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
Wow. You're trying to get in trouble, aren't you?

Frank Danna
This is called the gossip zone. This is the part of the podcast called the gossip zone. I'm just kidding.

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
Wow. Well, you know, first of all, I'll just be very straight. If I'm looking at our major competitors, or again, it starts with what do you value, and there are some of our competitors, where the bottom line is what it's about. So at whatever cost, and again, with due respect, because that's, that's a decision they've made a lot for a lot of companies, it's okay, whatever it is, wherever the dollar is gonna come from, we're going to do it. So if it's an extra fee to charge, if it's a fee increase, we're gonna do it. And that's really how it works. But what we've actually noticed, and this is just me and my marketing team, and we're doing our market reads is that sometimes you'll see indications of some of our competitors, recognizing that there is some value in this love thing. Because even if you do a basic social media temperature check, you know, and we use our tools to kind of do the social listening and see what people are saying. They recognize that the the endearment that certainly the public has towards a JMMB brand, and they will get a lot of flack for it. You know, I remember, just a few months ago, we had a very unfortunate situation where our online banking platform went down for a couple of days. And as you can imagine, our clients were very upset because of the gross inconvenience. And literally, within a day, our CEO, put out a statement, of course, with the support of marketing, apologizing, we've fallen short, this is not who we are, this is not our commitment to you, we're going to make it right. And until we make it right, this is what we're going to do, we're going to waive all of these transaction fees that you would have ordinarily paid, because it's not fair. We're going to waive those fees. So about a month we waive those fees, deposit fees, withdrawal fees, ACH fees, those sorts of things. And also, if at any point you were delayed in paying a bill, like a mortgage payment or credit card payment, and you you got charged a late fee. Give us the receipt for that, and we'll reimburse you, we'll pay you back.

Mohammad Anwar
Wow.

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
We are committed to making it right. And we put that out not just via email to our clients, we also posted it on social media, because you know, we know we can't reach everybody via email. So we put it out there. And the response mainly from non clients were like, Oh, my God, and they started to retweet and tag their bank and they were like, this is how you're supposed to do stuff on my banking platform. This is how you do it. See. You could almost say that after what was really a devastating crisis on our part with the online banking platform being down. You could say we almost gained brand, value and equity from the standpoint that people were just wowed. And so I think our competitors see that and sometimes you'll see some indication like in their communication pieces that would lend itself to a more motive type of communication. But again, if it's not coming from who you are as an organization, then it could be seen as not authentic. And so my encouragement to brands is so I say love is not a strategy for us in that sense, you know, with all due respect, I'm not throwing any shade guys. Not a strategy. It's who we are, you know?

Mohammad Anwar
Right. No, I and I, ultimately what what your CEO demonstrated was, again, vulnerability, simply taking ownership and apologizing, and that takes courage to do but it is so powerful. Yes, in building that trust, and, you know, relationship with your customers, I think that worked in your positive interest, actually, it looks.

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
Absolutely. And we took off course a financial hit, because you're you're waiving all these fees, and reimbursing these clients, you take a financial hit. But when you're done with that, your clients, they don't leave, they don't leave, because they're like, you know what, this is the company that's going to be sticking with me through thick and thin. And so

Mohammad Anwar
That's what I would say that was a business strategic decision that was founded on love.

Frank Danna
Love as a business strategy, is that what you said, Mohammad, I'm confused! But, um, but it's what's interesting to me. And what I heard from, from the approach that you took as a team, as well as your CEO, kind of being okay with asking for forgiveness, and moving that direction was that when your back was up against the wall, you chose love.

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
Yes.

Frank Danna
But you still you still went back to the value that you had, from the very beginning from the 30 years ago, you went back to that and said, what should we do to make things right for this, for the people that that have been it? It was it was almost like, habitual, right? It wasn't something that you had to sit down and and fret over, you're like, we know what to do. Because we've done it before. And we're gonna do it again. And this is who we are.

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
Exactly, exactly. And and just to let out a secret here, of course, my CEO didn't pen a word of that of that communication, it would have come from somewhere else in the organization. And when it was circulated to him and other stakeholders for alignment. It was immediate, because the languaging what we were proposing as compensation, everything just lined up again with who we were. And because we're all on the same page, it was like, Yeah, that's it. That's it. So yeah. So

Mohammad Anwar
sorry, when are you opening your branch office here in the United States?

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
You know that's a great question. I don't know of any immediate plans, we really just focused on building out in the Caribbean, actually. So that's really where our priorities are so sorry.

Mohammad Anwar
If you guys opened here, we'd be your first customer.

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
I'm sure you would.

Frank Danna
Mohammad's had some fun with banks. We're not going to talk about that right now.

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
Well, whenever you come to visit Jamaica, let us know and we'd be happy to bring you in, you can meet the team, you can see our branch setup and see all the red hearts in our banking hall.

Frank Danna
That is that something that have a design? Or is that something that you actually like it? Because we've been to Facebook, right, so you walk into Facebook, and you can write on the wall physically? What are the red hearts for?

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
So the red hearts again, so we are about love. And to be very honest, from a communication standpoint, visually, we wanted to find issues many years ago, we wanted to find an element where once you look at the communication, you know, it's love, you know, it's JMMB. And like it or not the heart Is it right?

Frank Danna
We're going through that right now.

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
Yeah. And so every little thing, you know, you're going to our ATM vestibules. There's a nice big red, a tree, a red tree in the shape of a heart on the wall with a nice inspirational verse. You know, I'm looking at a copy of our 2021 desk calendar with hearts all over it, it it's really about every it's actually in our brand guidelines every element needs to have because you need to look at it and see again, where we're coming from if it was just another red on white was our brand colors, primary colors. It was just another red on white banking. Piece of communication. It looks like another red on white bank. But again, it's about love. So how do we weave that into our visual elements is important to us as well?

Frank Danna
Yeah, that's very cool. It's but it's not just hearts on the wall. It's your actual hearts are tuned towards love. Right. So that's, I don't know. It's like the idea that it's an outpouring of how you actually who you actually are as an organization and a people. That to me is super fascinating.

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
Yes, yes, absolutely.

Jeff Ma
Kerry-Ann, when we first had a quick chat, I wrote down something you said, you said not everyone can work at JMMB. And I know this is a bit of a diversion. But I'm putting you on the spot. I'm sorry. Can you tell, I just I want to hear it again. I want to hear a little bit about why why that's true. And kind of, because I think I'll give you the context is because when we talk about love as a business strategy, and we talk to people in businesses about this, you know, the number one thing we're consistently dealing with, because we know what we're talking about, we are very firm believers in all this, but we were basically having to deal with, you know, resistance, naysayers, non believers, things like that. And, and there's this, there's always an element of when people try to just take love as a business strategy and see it as like this stencil or this overlay that they can just stick into their organization or apply one or two things, we have to have these really interesting conversations with them about what really what it really means to embody the behaviors and the culture of love to harness those benefits. And I think when I talk to you about it, we were talking about people who don't, who aren't bought in, we're talking about, you know, being human, you know, people who aren't necessarily sold at maybe they become jaded at some point, there's like that. And you said, not everyone can work at JMMB. I wanted to see if you could share your take on that a little bit.

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
Wow. Okay. So hopefully, I won't have to send my resume out after this. But I mean, this is just my personal observation, I obviously, it's not written anywhere. You know, we welcome anyone who would like to come and work for JMMB, but again, going back to the issue of who we are, as an organization, how we live through that core value of love, and how it seeps into every part of our culture, I would have spoken earlier of the language that we speak, how we interface with each other as team members, how do we interface with our clients, it all comes from that place of authentic love. And the reality is, is that if you're not aligned with that, somehow on a personal level, and even a professional level, then your future won't be very long. That's the reality of it. And as I even spoke about decisions about what fees to charge, you know, how are we even as a marketer, you have a marketing team, when we're drafting marketing, communication pieces, and so on, if they are stuck at a place of not knowing how to exude the values of the brand, through every interaction, every communication, you're just not aligned with the decisions, you know, why can't we charge this fee? It's, you know, it's a cost of the institution. No, that's just not who we are. We're not charging it because it's a nuisance, things like that. And what you find is that there are just a handful, it's really a very small amount, perhaps, that I would have seen in and out over the years. It's just not who they are. It's just not who they are. And you know what, that's okay. There's another company for them. And I think ultimately, for a company like JMMB that's living on on the vision of love, it helps to make sure that the vision is perpetuated because you are having people who are aligned with seeing that being pushed through consistently. So it is what it is. But yeah.

Frank Danna
Yeah, that's and to me, it feels incredibly important that that's maintained. Yeah, right. Because everything, every part of the journey that a customer goes through, is also needing to be aligned to that vision. So I can absolutely see how, you know, you have to make sure that that's being maintained from the hearts on the walls, to the way they're engaged with inside of your inside out of your branches. I mean, even the way they're engaging on online, all of it has to be consistent. There has to be continuity. Yeah, because you're using a word like love and that could backfire.

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
Right, right. And we're very, very deliberate. I mean, there there are instances where you know, there are some people who are let go from the organization because how they behave is inconsistent with the values. And even in instances where there are some people who are struggling, like, you would have had a situation a few years ago, where there was an impasse between a team leader and their team. The team did not feel that the team leader was operating in a manner with them that was consistent with the values. I mean, HR, we don't even call it HR. That's another bad word. Human beings are not resources.

Frank Danna
Amen.

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
So we don't say are not resources.

Frank Danna
Let's go

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
Yeah, we're preaching today, right. We call it culture and human development. So our culture and Human Development Team, or unit they go in and they're having the sessions. They're bringing in the counselors. They are having the what I call the Kumbaya conversations, people being pouring out their heart about, you know, what you said and how it made me feel and how it's landing on me. And you get to have that open exchange. And it was like, whoa, we are not going to leave this situation until we are confident that we've done everything we can to help that individual to, to heal and for the team to heal and for there to be, you know, repairing of their relationship. We're very serious about that.

Jeff Ma
I love that.

Frank Danna
That's crazy. I love it so much. I mean, I Mohammad's over here typing, he says tough love. And that's really what that is. Right? It's it's a, it's a little bit of tough love, but it's coming from a place of care.

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
Yeah, yeah. Because again, we trust that this person has the greatness already in there. We just really need to help it to come forth. And yeah, that's what that is. Yeah.

Frank Danna
Man. This is this has been awesome.

Jeff Ma
Yep. I'm thoroughly inspired. I love it so much. And, you know, this, obviously, this podcast was a great kind of chance to meet up with you here, Kerry-Ann. But after we move to Jamaica, I'm sure we can have further conversations. I think we're all connected. We're all like, wait, you're not gonna open up in this in the United States? Okay, then we'll move to Jamaica.

Frank Danna
We're all headed there. Anyway. So

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
Yeah, man. Yeah, man.

Jeff Ma
But before, before we let you go, Kerry-Ann, I understand you also have your own podcast, can you tell the listeners a little bit about your podcast and how they can find it?

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
Thank you. And it's probably sparked, partially inspired by what I do, and the brand that I represent and believe in, but I launched this podcast, not too recent, not too long ago. Rhys, very recently, in fact, called the internal marketing podcast. So of course, everybody knows what marketing is, it's really about doing activities that help to shift our behavior to whatever it is you want. So typically, external marketing is about targeting a group of prospective customers to buy your product or service. That's basically what most people know the typical marketing definition to be. But internal marketing is really about now, using those same marketing strategies to market to your employees. And the reason why you do that is because you want to engage and enroll your employees and the mission and the vision of the company in the same way you want to enroll your customers, your clients. You want to do that with your employees. And the goal is having engaged them and enrolled them, they will turn around now and be advocates of the brand to those outside. And in a time when we're talking about, you know, a worldwide pandemic, people really starving for authentic connections with brands, people want to connect with people, they don't want to connect with a faceless brand who's posting stuff out there. And so your brand's people are your employees. So people would foster want to connect with your employees who are their own personal brands and their own networks. How are we empowering and engaging our people, our employees, our team members, to represent an advocate for the brand in a way that the official company account can't. And so that's what the podcast is about. It's about exploring conversations about how companies how brands can market internally, to their employees in a way that engages and empowers them to be advocates of the brand. And it's available wherever podcasts are your favorite podcasting app.

Frank Danna
Excellent.

Jeff Ma
I love it. Thank you so much. And yeah, this was such an amazing opportunity to talk to you and we, you know, working day in and day out around love as a business strategy, talking about culture, in this kind of development. It's always incredible to be able to meet and talk to you and hear about how it's being used in different places and all around the world, and in different contexts. And it's incredible to hear your story. So thank you, Kerry-Ann, for sharing with us today and being here with us. We're truly inspired. It was amazing. Thank you for being here.

Mohammad Anwar
Thank you so much.

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
Thanks, guys. This was an awesome conversation. I mean, I I'm like okay, do I have to go back to work now?

Frank Danna
Do I have to go back to work? Is the other question.

Jeff Ma
Yeah, I'm already shopping for plane tickets to Jamaica.

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
And we welcome you. We welcome you. We're open for business even though it's COVID-19. We have the protocols in place. We're welcoming our visitors to our island and we'd be happy to have you and you guys keep doing what you're doing. I mean, just going just listening to your podcasts and even just going on your website. I'm like, oh, this is just like JMMB's half sister.

Frank Danna
We're all connected. We're all related.

Kerry-Ann Stimpson
Yeah. Yeah. Love, we need to we need to prepare. You're in the conversation. So keep doing what you're doing, guys, you're doing awesome. And thank you for the opportunity.

Jeff Ma
And here at Love as a Business Strategy, we're posting new episodes every Tuesday. So if there's a business topic you like, or maybe you have a story that you'd like to share about your love and your business, let us know at softway.com/LAABS. And if you liked what you heard, please do subscribe, leave us a review. And if you know someone that might enjoy this content, don't forget to share, share the love as a business strategy podcast. So we'll see you guys next week. I'll get rid of that pun in the outro one day but not today.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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