The Freundel Stuart administration is being asked to make good on its promise to implement a savings protection guarantee scheme for the approximately 183,000 members of the 34 registered credit unions here.
It was last October that Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler had said a draft of the legislation to establish the scheme was being fine-tuned and should be “in the hands of all industry players” for comment before December.
Sinckler had also said he had expected the Bill to go before Parliament for approval “before the Christmas break”.
However, there have been no signs of progress since, and credit union officials are still awaiting an update on the matter.
Sinckler was not available for comment Friday, but Chief Executive Officer of the City of Bridgetown Co-operative Credit Union (COB) Steve Belle told Barbados TODAY the issue of savings insurance has been ongoing for “a number of years” and he was anxious to see the measure put in place.
“About a year ago I know the minister did say they would introduce the savings deposit insurance to credit unions but we have heard nothing else since then,” Belle said.
The deposit insurance fund would provide protection for credit union members up to a stipulated amount if a credit union fails.
There is already a similar measure in place for commercial banks, which provides cover for up to $25,000 for every account holder.
A group was set up by the Barbados Co-operative Credit Union League Ltd more than a year ago to conduct research and submit findings to the Ministry of Finance to help in the process of setting up the scheme for the sector.
“We are hoping that it will be a reality sooner rather than later,” the COB boss said.
The assets of credit unions here stand at $2 billion, according to the 2016 Financial Stability Report, produced by the Financial Services Commission (FSC), whose Chief Executive Officer Randy Graham had given the assurance early last year that the legislation would likely be in place by the end of 2016.
At the time, Graham had said the FSC and the Central Bank had already looked at the funding requirements and were “actively hoping to have that in place in short order, as soon as we get the legislative framework for the deposit insurance”.