Minister of State in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Empowerment, Trade, Industry and Commerce, Patrick Todd??(FP)??

Faced with tough competition in the financial services sector, a Government Minister is advising the credit union movement to revamp the services being offered to its members, to keep abreast with the changes.????

Minister of State in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Empowerment, Trade, Industry and Commerce, Patrick Todd made this observation last Thursday, while addressing the Barbados Public Workers Union’s Cooperative Credit Union Limited’s (BPWCCUL) 40th Anniversary Cocktail Reception.?? It was held at Wispers on the Bay, Bay Street, St. Michael.

He emphasised that vulnerable economies must implement strategies to cope during the downturn; in order to stamp out the threats to the movement’s existence.

Mr. Todd said: "It must be understood that prudent financial management geared towards risk-based supervision and management, must be embraced by small and large organisations.?? This concept focuses on how we assess the risks in our operating environments and implement the procedures that are necessary in order to avoid, mitigate or ultimately, eradicate the threats to our survival."

The Minister of State reiterated Government’s pledge to monitor the activities in the non-banking financial sector and alluded to the setting up of the Financial Services Commission by July 1, to effect this.

Mr. Todd also disclosed that plans were in train to provide deposit insurance to credit union members to safeguard savings to a maximum of $25,000. "This venture is indeed timely.?? We have witnessed the repercussions of the global economic crisis and I am of the view that every effort should be made to mitigate as much as possible, the negative possibilities on the membership base of credit union," he surmised.

The Minister of State lauded the achievements of the credit union and added that the assets, which stood at $2,223 in 1970, had ballooned to $650 million at March 31, 2010.

Meanwhile, President of the BPWCCUL, Anthony Griffin, said the institution had a lot to be proud of in its four decades of existence and noted: "When I look back at the history of the credit union, I have to pay tribute to the early stalwarts who had assisted with the growth of the organisation… and have paved the way by the strength of our membership … 40 years later we are still here," he emphasised.

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