A lack of resources is preventing the Cooperatives Department from effectively carrying out its mandate of supervising the credit union movement in Barbados.
Word of this has come from head of that regulatory department, Sharon Drayton who made this revelation ahead of a recent tour of its operations by Minister of Economic Affairs and Empowerment, Innovation, Trade, Industry and Commerce, Dr. David Estwick, and other Ministry officials.
She said there were 35 active credit unions across the island and it had become increasingly difficult to examine the operations within the movement with limited capabilities. “We have to actually go in, do examinations of these credit unions and analyse statistics to come up with the risk profile of each credit union. This entails sometimes a lot of detailed work, talking to senior management and board members. So, this exercise is very time consuming and you really need the resources to do it effectively,” Ms. Drayton surmised.
The Cooperatives head spoke of an ongoing US $200,000 Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) project to be used to implement a risk-based supervision model to enhance the efficiency and identify the risks in the movement as a means of easing the officers’ work load.
Ms. Drayton added that: “We have already sent out to all of the credit unions a frame-work for supervision; and we have developed some draft guidelines which they are currently reviewing. We also have a handbook for our officers to help us in terms of the process which is well on stream. So, the credit unions will be able to look at their risks and learn how to manage the various new products under their portfolio.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Estwick, who pledged Government’s commitment to the regulation of the credit union movement, said the institution had a legal and moral obligation to protect members’ deposits. “The regulation must ensure that policies are complied with under the Consumers Guarantee Act and I will give her [Ms. Drayton] all the power under the act to carry out her duties.”