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Credit unions growing astronomically—PM Rowley

Published: 
Sunday, June 17, 2018
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Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley in a fatherly role with young worshippers during the Eid ul Fitr celebrations on Friday.

The Credit Union Movement in the Caribbean region is "not only alive and well but is growing astronomically in strength, stamina, and stature," Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has said.

"But the real significance, true value and full potential of this phenomenal growth and development will be lost to the world at large if, side by side, the movement does not come face to face with commensurate levels of independence, responsibility, accountability, authority, and maturity: free from dependence upon commercial banks and private sector financial institutions to lodge your membership shares and deposits, free to put the mechanisms in place to compete aggressively, if they so desire, in the provision of the widest range of financial services to all and sundry: ATMs, purchase and sales of foreign exchange, wire transfers, letters of credit, debit and credit cards etc: financial instruments, the escalating cost of which eat away at the shares, deposits and dividends so sacrificially and painstakingly accumulated," he said.

Rowley made the statement as he delivered the keynote address as the Co-operative Credit Union League of T&T hosted the Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions Convention at the Hyatt Regency.

"Co-operative credit unionism has come of age, and we shall epitomise this only to the extent that we are prepared to walk the talk, take hold of the baton and head toward completion of the final leg, Rowley said

"Make no mistake about it. Power to change the future will call upon you to draw down from the wealth of merits of your proven track record and, above all, summon your richly gifted attributes of tenacity, grit and determination, and by no means least, your abiding and relentless passion for progress and excellence," he said.

Rowley said the region needs emulate how Canada protects depositors at credit unions.

"Our objective in the Caribbean should be to take a page from the Canadian experience, where credit union members enjoy, in many provinces, higher levels of deposit protection than that which is available to commercial bank customers," he said.

According to 2016 figures, T&T accounts for almost half the number of credit unions in the Caribbean.

Rowley said the number of credit unions in the Caribbean in 2016 was 297 with a membership of 2,505,918.

Shares and deposits amounted to $5.3 billion dollars, loans totalled $4.3 billion, and reserves stood at $651.6 million.

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