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March 29, 2017

Perspective: BOJ Should Leave Credit Unions Alone

Bank of Jamaican with Credit Union

The interference by the Bank Of Jamaica into the running of the local Credit Unions Movement, under the disguise of regulating same, is false and deceptive to say the least.  This is not in the best interest of Credit Union savers et al … in short, this is not good news.  The Credit Union movement has self regulated the affairs of its members from time immemorial and have merged when it saw the need to.  The “weak” has always stood by the strong in the best interest of their members’ deposits and assets.

Financial Meltdown 1990 ….
In the 90s when banks were falling like flies and there was turmoil in the financial sector … FINSAC etc.   No Credit Union folded. This speaks volumes of the resilience and sound leadership of the respective Board of Directors and the Credit Union League.  If it is not broken leave it alone.  No “dutty” up this great movement … there is no room for interference by the Bank of Jamaica.  BOJ need to regulate the Commercial Banks who are believed to be ripping of customers by high, if not oppressive and hidden fees.  Money in so called “Dormant Accounts” are seized by these banks and used to enrich their bottom line.  What a shame and disgrace, if not scandal!
An announcement by National Commercial Bank (NCB) and another of the apparent rapacious banks to cease the practice of declaring “dormant accounts” is welcome news.
Joereen Mclean, Manager of the Postal Coop Credit Union, told Vision’s SIC exclusively that “My Credit Union has never written off any loans in the past many years …”  she could not put a figure on the years.
Delinquency
On the vexed issue of defaulting on loans, the long time Credit Union manager had this eye opening revelation:
“Our delinquency is 2%.  The industry norm is 5%.  We have many unsecured loans and we are paid.”  We are doing well as a movement. We are resisting attempts to force us to merge.” bemoaned the Manager with a broad smile. Merging to form larger Credit Unions seems to be the BOJ’s plan.
Titles
“We even lend money to improve housing stock to assist our members … having registered titles is a problem … we try to work around any obstacles.  We still do not have defaults on these loans.
Dr. Peer Phillips in his installation as PNP president spoke about Cooperatives/ Credit Union Movement briefly.  Did he do anything as Finance Minister to discourage interference in the Credit Union Movement?  We need to hear from you Dr. Phillips.
We say leave the Credit Union Movement alone.  Focus on the rapacious banks. Members are helping members in the Credit Unions to better their lives.  We are not ripping off our members.
Will the Hon.  Audley Shaw, Finance Minister, JLP,  stop this flawed interference by BOJ in the Credit Union Movement in Jamaica?  We hope so!
What is your perspective.  his is ours.  Let us hear from you.
Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is SIC Vision Newspaper and a Credit Union member since 1967 …. served on the Board of at least one Credit Union and helped to form another. They are both doing well.

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