Minister of Economic Affairs and Empowerment, Innovation, Trade, Industry and Commerce, Dr. David Estwick????

Government has heeded the call from members of the credit union movement, and is pressing ahead with plans to implement a deposit liability insurance mechanism, to protect members’ deposits.

Minister of Economic Affairs and Empowerment, Innovation, Trade, Industry and Commerce, Dr. David Estwick, gave this undertaking while addressing a Barbados Workers’ Union Limited (BWUCCUL) retreat recently.?? The event took place at the Grande Salle, Tom Adams Financial Centre, Bridgetown.

Noting that the facility would act as a safety net for thousands of customers if credit unions were to fail, he said the proposed mechanism would be "similar to what now obtains for customers of financial institutions who are members of the Barbados Deposit Insurance Corporation".

Dr. Estwick observed that while credit unions had in some instances, been unaffected by the financial crisis, he, however, warned that they were not immune from increased credit risk if its members fell into financial difficulties.

Given this background, he urged the credit union movement to reposition itself to respond to the members’ needs.?? "However, it is expected that more persons will be looking to the credit unions for financial assistance during this downturn.?? The movement, no doubt, must be encouraged to respond, but must do so, cognisant of the evolving financial environment," Dr. Estwick underlined.

Citing statistics for December 2008 on the credit union’s capital, the Economic Affairs Minister revealed that for this period, the total assets stood at $1.2 billion as compared to $1.1 billion for the corresponding period in 2007.?? Savings accounted for $978.8, million while its loan portfolio increased by 11.4 per cent and now stood at $964.5 million.??

Dr. Estwick said that there were now 150,000 credit union members and government had earmarked a number of initiatives, under its Short and Medium Term Action Plan, to mitigate some of the challenges facing the economy and by extension, the credit union movement.

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