Microfinancing firm ISP Finance Services Limited has added two new members to its board of directors amid continuing efforts to secure a licence from the Bank of Jamaica to continue business under the new Microcredit Act.
The company has named Damian J. Duncan and David A. Lee as independent directors, effective May 16.
Duncan and Lee join five other directors that have been sitting on ISP Finance’s board since July 2022, following the resignation of Rosemary E. Thwaites, who was a member of the Audit Committee and the Remuneration Committee.
Duncan comes with experience in finance and investments, having served as the chief executive officer of Supreme Ventures Fintech Limited, and prior to that, senior vice-president of Prime Sports (Jamaica) Limited, which is also owned by Supreme Ventures Group.
He was also once the head of strategy and mergers and acquisitions at National Commercial Bank Jamaica. Lee is president of private equity firm Machine Capital Inc.
“The two gentlemen were added to the board because we are in the process of securing our microcredit licence, and we felt it prudent to add a few independent directors,” ISP company secretary Diyal Fernando told the Financial Gleaner.
The Microcredit Act was passed in January 2021 with the aim of licensing and regulating microlenders. It requires all microfinancing institutions to be licensed, but at last update by the central bank, only 13 entities had made the grade. More than a 100 other applications are pending.
ISP applied for its licence on July 29, 2022, and says it has since received confirmation from the BOJ that it would be allowed to continue operating pending the outcome of the central bank’s assessment of the application.
The microlender, which has been listed on the stock market since 2016, reported modest growth of nearly six per cent in earnings to $57 million last year while its core interest income ticked down by $3 million to $432 million.
ISP Finance’s loan portfolio also recorded modest growth of more than six per cent to $760 million, while an influx of cash from new borrowings pushed its total assets beyond $1 billion.