by Shawn Cumberbatch
Barbados’ largest credit union has raked in profits likely to be envied by bigger corporate players on the island.
Helped by more than $1 million from subsidiary CAPITA Financial Services Inc., Barbados Public Workers’ Cooperative Credit Union Limited earned almost $13 million by the end of March this year.
But despite the $3.7 million increased in profits, $45.3 million increased in assets, $36.4 million growth in deposits and other highlights, the cooperative’s management pointed to some challenges, including a fiscal period “characterised by shrinking loan demand resulting from a continual decline in our members’ disposal income, and persistent delinquency challenges”.
As part of plans to achieve continued growth and improved financial health, BPWCCUL is planning to open a new branch in Warrens in the future, but in the meanwhile intends to open new ABM machines in that popular St. Michael area, as well as the Cooperators General Insurance complex in Collymore Rock.
At a time when many in the business community are reporting losses and amid continued hard times, the credit union’s performance over the past year attract attention.
Reporting to shareholders, President Glendon Belle said: “Our group of companies has been able to withstand the prevailing economic climate by posting encouraging financial results during the past fiscal year which ended March 31, 2013. The final net income is $12.8 million conveys a resounding position of viability.
“Notwithstanding our success, we remain acutely aware of the need for sustainable improvement. As such, we continue to work assiduously to respond to the increasing demands of membership, clientele, regulatory institutions and fierce competition.
“Ultimately, convenience is critical to member and customer satisfaction. The long term plan for the establishment of another branch in the rapidly expanding Warrens locate still remains our focus. However, in the meanwhile, discussions are ongoing relative to acquiring a home for the placement of an ATM in that area.
“In short order, we will be establishing a presence in Collymore Rock, through the placement of an ATM at the Cooperators General Insurance Company Limited’s head office,” he added.
In their analysis of the organisation’s performance, credit union officials pointed out that “in the face of persistent weak economic conditions and an increasingly competitive environment, the group maintained steady growth in loosen and deposits and strengthened its capital and reserve positions through increased earnings results for the year ended March 31, 2013”.
“The group’s performance was led by BPWCCUL which increased its net surplus by 21.5 per cent, but also benefitted from the improved performance of CAPITAL whose net income doubled when compared with the prior year,” the said.
“These strong results were achieved amidst a challenging environment characterised by increased unemployment, deterioration in credit quality and declining interest margins.
The board of directors also cautioned in its report that “notwithstanding the commendable performance, the volatility in the financial services environment demands that we move apace with developments to ensure that we maintain and/or increase market share wherever we can in an ever changing and exceptionally competitive environment”.