President of the Barbados Co-operative and Credit Union League Ltd (BCCULL) Hally Haynes is promising the association’s near 208,000 members that it will be addressing several outstanding issues come early next year.
High on the agenda, he said, would be the pending change in the Caribbean Integrated Financial Services Inc. (CarIFS).
Recently, Minister of Small Business Dwight Sutherland disclosed that the CarIFS system – the transactional platform that helps to facilitate millions of electronic payments by Barbadian consumers – would be coming to an end by September 2020.
Barbados TODAY first broke the news in November 2018 that after two decades, commercial banks could be withdrawing from the banking machine interconnection system.
This means the ability of credit union members with CarIFS-ready cards would be limited.
Haynes said this issue will be high on the agenda of the credit union body in 2020.
“With the potential to disrupt the way business is conducted for more than 100, 000 of our members who use the service, we are working on a solution that protects the country’s precious foreign reserves while servicing the needs of our members,” he said.
Also a priority for the BCCULL is the fight for deposit insurance for the credit union movement, similar to what commercial banks enjoy.
Currently, the deposits in commercial banks up to a maximum of $25,000 per individual are protected against loss by bank failure.
Haynes said: “With more than $2 billion in savings and deposits by our members, the Barbados Cooperative & Credit Union League Limited will continue the fight in 2020 to have its members enjoy the same level of deposit insurance protection as that extended to the customers in commercial banks and other registered non-bank deposit-taking institutions”.
He said the credit union league was also closely monitoring the pending changes in ownership structure of commercial banks and other financial institutions in Barbados and across the region.
“As the New Year begins, the BCCULL’s leadership is well aware that challenges will confront us, some foreseen, and others not,” Haynes added.
He said the BCCULL was hopeful about the prospects for 2020 and stood prepared to work with “the current administration, like-minded groups and individuals, who believe in the co-operative way of life”.
“We will continue our push for increased membership training in areas of anti-money laundering and the financing of terrorism, financial literacy, as well as entrepreneurship,” he said.
Stating that the local credit union sector is strong and members had faith in the organization, Haynes said the BCCULL would ensure the continued growth and development of the sector, “whilst at the same time enhancing and expanding the co-operative business model”.
He contended that the credit union movement was partly responsible for the recent upgrades of the island’s long-term currency ratings and gradual rise in confidence in the economy.