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Critical role of credit unions

As we look to the New Year 2013 with hope, peace and joy let us continue to work towards achieving excellence in this great Credit Union movement.

There is no doubt that last year was challenging for governments, businesses, and families across the world, especially with the impact of the global economic crisis on developing countries such as ours.

However, the credit unions of Barbados performed creditably during the last year and in many instances have done better than other financial institutions. Total savings of affiliated societies reach $1.29 billion, which represents growth of 13.65 per cent, over last year’s performance of $1.13 billion, while loans to members moved from $1.15 billion in 2011 to $1.21 billion at the end of the same period; an increase of 4.79 per cent. The assets of the affiliated societies grew by 4.17 per cent from $1.48 billion to $1.54 billion.

These statistics clearly demonstrate the critical role played by the credit unions of Barbados. History has shown that during economic crises, it is the credit union movement that maintains stability within the financial sector of Barbados. Moreover the credit unions in Barbados have worked harder to facilitate the needs of their members and to cushion the effects of the global economic crisis.

Existing loan facilities for members were being restructured, providing loans at reduce interest rates, adjusting loan policies, facilitating withdrawals for members as well as providing financial guidance and counselling to members.

During the last year, the role of credit unions and indeed all co-operatives was intensified at the international, regional and national level as we celebrated International Year of Co-operatives 2012 under the theme: “Co-operatives Enterprises Build a Better World”.

In Barbados, we have seen a renewed interest in the co-operative business model and Barbadians both at home and in the Diaspora have indicated the desire for the credit union movement to go to the next logical step in establishing a locally owned and operated bank.

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