Not feeling the squeeze

The University of the West Indies’ financial problems in Barbados and the island’s wider economic challenges have left a financial institution closely associated with UWI largely unscathed.

But the UWI (Cave Hill) Cooperative Credit Union Limited, which rents offices at the local campus and whose membership include university employees, has highlighted increased demand from these individuals for credit in the form of loans.

The board of the directors of the cooperative, which recently held its annual general meeting, happily reported that when their financial year ended on December 31 last year the institution had recorded a good performance, including growth in profits, assets, members deposits and shares savings.

At year-end 2012 the credit union’s assets were $37.4 million ($34 million in 2011), members deposits were $6.6 million ($6.3 million in 2011), and members share savings $26.2 million ($23.5 million in 2011.

Profits before tax also increased by 6.62 per cent, moving from $2.3 million in 2011 to $2.5 million last year.

“In a period of continued economic challenges and uncertainty both in the local and international markets, our credit union recorded another very positive year of growth. Once again this was the result of the strong and unwavering support of our members coupled with disciplined and principled management,” the board reported.

Treasurer David Myles also pointed to the “difficult economic climate” the credit union operated in and “the consequent threat of increased delinquency on the part of borrowers”.

The organisation’s most recently publicised records showed that members increased their demand for loans, including a growing number who utilised its line of credit facility.

“The loan portfolio of our credit union for 2012 which reflected the members’ demand for loan funds is indicating an increase in the overall activity for the period under review. Members’ demand for loans and access to the line of credit facility showed a total disbursement of $5.57 million for the financial year ending December 31, 2012, when compared with $4.99 million disbursed in year 2011, an increase of $567,000,” the directors noted.

“We can report that the Line of Credit facility out-performed all other categories with total disbursements of $1.105 million for the year 2012 as compared with $574, 000 for the year 2011, and is mainly responsible for our improved performance.”

The Treasurer said the credit union’s board, committees and staff members had worked diligently to reduce the risk of loan delinquency and had been largely successful.

“It is a tribute to their efforts, but, above all, to the responsibility and commitment of our membership that the UWI Credit Union continues to have one of the lowest delinquency rates in the movement in Barbados,” he said.

“Management continues to follow the policy of keeping minimum amounts of cash in non- interest bearing accounts, with the goal of maximising investment income. At the same time, however, we have tried to keep investment maturities short so that we can promptly satisfy members’ loan requirements.

“The Credit Union continues to meet its commitments and stands ready and available to provide financial and other services to members to help them in the financing of their homes, business, education or other requirements,” the official added. (SC)

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