Credit Unions in Grenada have been called upon to place more emphasis on development and education initiatives within the communities they serve.
President of the Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions (CCCU) Aaron Moses issued the call last week Thursday as he addressed those gathered at Progress Park in St. Andrew as the 10 co-operatives in Grenada joined the rest of the world in observance of International Credit Union (ICU) Day.
In an interview with reporters following his address, Moses noted that Credit Unions are credential co-operatives that are based on “10 core principles,” with community orientation being one of them, in which co-operatives are expected to contribute significantly to their communities.
“So ultimately,” Moses explained, “credit unions are rooted in the community…and one of our objectives is deep involvement in the communities”.
“…My call is for credit unions who have neglected in some cases or are not making the necessary community interventions”, he said, adding that “we need to revisit the core principles” on which the Credit union stands”.
Additionally, the CCCU President cited the need to promote greater sensitisation about the credit union movement, urging them to revisit another core principle – education.
Moses emphasised the importance of educating members and the public at large as to the morals and practices of the credit union, and what makes it unique to allow for the movement’s further growth and development.
“You would find that if people better understand the principles of corporatism and what credit unions stand for chances of the level of commitment and ensuring that they rally around the credit union and business with the credit union is much better.”
“…There is a tremendous opportunity for existing credit unions to educate and market themselves, spread the good news of credit unionism to those who are yet to access and be a part of that important family – a family that demonstrates care and takes care of people’s needs, providing financial access to enable people to achieve their dreams and aspirations to enhance their lives.
Speaking about the challenges faced by the Credit Union movement, Moses pointed to the negative impact of the current economic conditions on the financial institutions within the Caribbean.
He said: “The world is just recovering from extremely challenging times. Recovery is not balanced and it’s marginal. (For us) in the Caribbean it’s also a challenge and we will see that most Caribbean economies did not achieve growth although on average the region as a whole achieved slight increase in growth in the last year”.
Moses also said that the Credit Union movement is an integral part of the financial landscape of the Caribbean but it is certainly faced with some major challenges.
However, he said despite those challenges the Credit Unions within the region and indeed Grenada continues to grow.
This growth, he noted, is “reflective of the relevance of the credit union movement (in) serving the needs of the previously disadvantaged and people who did not have access to the traditional financial institutions, but more importantly, serving the needs of people who subscribe to a core philosophy of people helping people…pulling their resources together for the benefit of their brothers and sisters.”
“That philosophy is what I think is responsible for the resilience and the continued sustainability of the credit union movement not only within the Caribbean but throughout the world,” he added.
In terms of coming up with a strategic response to providing better services, Moses stated that the movement is looking to “merge where applicable and necessary, in an attempt to drive the economies of scale and be more responsive to the needs of their members and provide new products and services.”
The Credit Union boss also shared his views on how the soon-to-be implemented harmonised Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) credit reporting legislation will affect the credit union movement.
Moses said while the Credit Union movement, which is regulated under the Grenada Co-operative Societies Act, welcomes legislation, it expects the regulations “to be cognisant of the uniqueness of credit unions and should facilitate our continued growth and sustainability.”
This year’s International Credit union Day celebration was held under the theme, “People helping people.”