The credit union movement is giving its members the assurance that it will do what it could to help members who are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
While not providing details, President of Barbados Co-operative & Credit Union League Ltd (BCCUL) Hally Haynes said the association has already been speaking with Government and other stakeholders on the issue.
“The Barbados Co-operative & Credit Union League Ltd (BCCUL) continues to monitor the evolving situation with COVID-19 in Barbados, and its possible impact on the extensive credit union community on the island,” it said in a statement on Friday.
“The BCCUL wishes to assure credit union members that the League has already entered national discussions with Government and related parties, on how credit unions, like other financial institutions, can assist members to navigate this period of uncertainty,” said Haynes.
He said: “We encourage credit union members who may be experiencing any difficulty to inform their credit union, which we are confident will work with them through this difficult period to provide relief appropriate to their individual circumstance. This is the credit union way, putting our members first.”
He encouraged members to follow the advice of the competent authorities, exercise the highest hygiene practices through frequent hand washing and guidelines on sneezing and coughing to help prevent the spread of the virus.
“The movement supports the practice of social distancing where possible, to help contain the spread of infection by avoiding close contact and large crowds. At automatic banking machines (ABM), members should sanitize their hands immediately after use,” the BCCUL advised.
Haynes said: “Our credit unions are committed to doing their part to provide hygienic environments for our members. We continue to participate in national talks with Government on the fluid situation with COVID-19 and we are committed to working with our members to see them through this period.”
“The league discourages members from any form of panic and asks that they exercise good judgment and be measured in their actions,” he added.
The BCCUL represents 30 credit unions with a combined membership of in excess of 200 000.
Earlier this week, RBC Royal Bank announced that it would be providing financial relief to its Caribbean clients impacted by the pandemic.
Effectively immediately, most RBC personal banking clients in the Caribbean will benefit from an automatic three-month payment deferral on credit facilities. Business and corporate clients are also eligible for the relief programme, following individual eligibility assessments with an RBC representative,” the bank said in a statement.
RBC said its automatic payment deferrals will be applied as of March 17, 2020 and remain in effect until June 30, 2020, or until further advised.
CIBC FirstCaribbean has also announced that it was committed to working with clients in the retail, business banking, wealth management and corporate banking segments to offer special assistance on a case-by-case basis for those adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This could include deferred payments, special loan financing and other concessions aimed at helping clients cushion the financial impact of the pandemic on households and businesses across the region,” CIBC FirstCaribbean said.