Barbados Public Workers’ Co-Operative Credit Union Limited In Expansionist Mode

Recent discussion on BU suggested some fireworks would have occurred at the  Barbados Public Workers’ Co-Operative Credit Union Limited  (BPWCCUL) Annual General Meeting (AGM).

Here are a few notes on what transpired at the 18 June 2011 AGM:

  1. Thirty five credit unions voted this week to move ahead to establish a Cooperative Bank. Capita, a 100% owned  BPWCCUL company, is expected to form the ‘backbone’ of the project. Additionally it was revealed that the BPWCCUL will lead an initiative to build out a shared network to serve the smaller credit unions.
  2. The usual suspects were elected to serve on the Board and other committees, Cedric Murrell, Glendon Belle, Randy Graham, Suzette Clarke and Paula Byer.
  3. Net Surplus in the amount of $2, 219, 378.00 was voted with $1.1 million of the amount to be rebated to members at a rate of 2% .
  4. Members voted to increase the loan limit to BDS90 million.
  5. The biggest bone of contention at the meeting occurred when members questioned the format of the financials. The financials reflect a consolidation position i.e. BPWCCUL and Capita. A motion was carried to breakout the credit union financials for future meetings to allow members to better scrutinize the credit union’s performance.

The meeting was otherwise uneventful with a minority voicing concern from the floor and in corridor whispers about the direction the credit union seems to be headed given its obvious expansionist strategy. Those fears would have been heightened by Treasurer Paul Maxwell during his presentation of the Treasurer’s Report.

121 thoughts on “Barbados Public Workers’ Co-Operative Credit Union Limited In Expansionist Mode


  1. This was a very good meeting. The members were kept well informed by the Directors. The Directors have a fantastic strategic vision for Capita, which will see it become a bank, which is owned by all of the credit unions. As I think it will play out, BPWCCUL will sell an interest in Capita to the other credit unions at a price that BPWCCUL will realize, we hope material, gains on the initial investment, which will ultimately be distributed to the members. We are about to move away from the simple savings and loans business to the sophisticated business of banking. We are going to be wealthy.


  2. As the saying goes, I think the tail has started to wag the dog and the tail will likely get stronger over time. A question was asked about whether shares in Capita would be made available to the members and the Directors responded by indicating that the Board of Capita would decide. The Directors later indicated that the credit unions decided to form a bank and Capita would be used to facilitate that objective. So the members are no longer in control of their major asset – the beginning of the end.


  3. I realize that members are not understaning what is happening, so on monday i will do what i have to do.


  4. Just only asking, please postpone any drastic action for now. Secure a copy of the relevant act and let us start paying due attention to the organization. It is very likely that a major decision, such as contemplated by the Directors, needs to be brought to the members. I fear that the Directors may not be fully aware of their authority versus that of the members. The Directors even seemed to be in awe of the people that should be answering to them.


  5. alien, u are correct Terrol Inniss especially seemed perturbed by any and every questioned put to the Board. i realized manasseh king tried to put forward thought provoking questions but some members seemed not to understand what he was driving act. the Board surprised me in how they went ahead and choice ‘competent’ members to sit on the board of capita. i got the impression that they knew they had access to our money and what they chose to do with it was their business. this is going too far. i remain committed in my decision to withdraw membership. i am getting the uneasy feeling that they will do what they care to with our without our support but with our monies. an infinitesimal practice too, shows me that they think they are Gods to us, this that they have their lunch in a private suite while the members sit somewhere else. i was offended by this. no longer will i contribute to this derogatory and lackadaisical treatment. it’s my money


  6. Smooth chocolate, as I said to Just only asking, please defer any drastic action. Get a copy of the relevant act and get to know what authority the directors have and what authority the members have. For example, the directors of a company, under the Companies Act, need the approval of the shareholders to make fundamental changes. It is likely the same for credit unions, but I too need to secure a copy of the applicable legislation.


    • It appears the strategic direction of the BPW board maybe out of sync with the general membership.

      It is not to say the board is wrong but there is the distinct impression the members are being led by the board, yes the tail wagging the dog.


    • @Bush Tea

      We are on the same page.

      A look at the BPW credit union balance sheet shows the alarming position where loans to deposits should be creating a concern for members.

      It means the credit union will have to aggressively compete with banks to raise deposits. What will this result?

      The fact that the banks by the Treasurer’s own admission seem to be swimming in money and the BPW credit union balance sheet does not reflect such a condition is a sure sign they have gotten the business model wrong.

      Did we understand the Treasurer to be suggesting that the credit union needs to look at mobile banking as well?

      BPW credit union under the current leadership seems to be taking on high risk ventures and we know what they say about risk reward.


  7. All that is happening is that a Cooperative have been hijacked and is being converted into a regular financial institution. The Bush man predicts that it will not survive the coming financial chaos.

    It was enlightening to listen to the various arguments on BU in the lead-up to the AGM. How can so few of us understand the co-operative idea in a country with such high penetration? …. I guess because most of us joined to benefit from the income tax benefits and to access loans – NOT to be part of a self help organization.

    A Credit Union is NOT a financial institution, it is a financial COOPERATIVE. This means that the members have the final say. Directors can do anything that they wish to – provided that they get the members to agree to their intended actions (and that the action is within the law)

    Some like Brutus seem to think that credit unions morph into banks when they become large enough – you would be shocked at the sizes of some international credit unions – and they are not banks.

    If financial strength was such a key factor in security we would not be seeing the present global crisis. Once this cooperative looses the collective member’s ownership and control, it will go the way of CLICO… and for years that was largely Caswell.

    There is no question that members should be required to vote on these Board initiatives…. and someone should pay if this was not done with Capita….

    Other Credit Unions will also face strong sanctions from their own members if they agree to this nonsense about putting members money into this Capita scam to bail out PWCCUL.

    This is no time to launch a co-op bank – in the middle of the worst financial crisis in a century – this should have been done along with the Insurance Company – but guess who opposed it then…..

  8. Pingback: Barbados Public Workers’ Co-Operative Credit Union Limited In Expansionist Mode | Barbados news


  9. I thought the BPW leadership were well prepared for the meeting. I have concerns as well, primarily in the amount of risk the credit union will be exposed to but does standing still count as a strategy ?

    Terrol Innis seemed firm and fair, and I thought Paul Maxwell was very good at communicating. I did contemplate asking a q regarding the regurgitating of people within the leadership team but its a condition of the credit union that continuity seems to be a staple item.

    personally i thought it was a very well put together agm. I will continue to monitor capita in particular as I do think there is a risk it affects negatively on the credit unions finances.


    • Is it usual for an AGM to start and finish and the CEO not to make some input into the proceedings?

      It appears from a distance Paul Maxwell is the person influencing decisions in the board room.

      @baje42

      The concerns here has nothing to do with Innis being fair.


  10. Members not having, or allowing themselves to be prevented from having, a say in fundamental changes is a serious weakness. Another serious weakness is allowing one set of people to interchange between the board and the committees for multiple consecutive terms. The members need to ensure that they routinely add new representatives. This will prevent irregularities, if any, from being concealed. Maintaining one group of people, in charge of $840 million, for an extended period of time is foolhardy.


  11. @ David

    I was responding to early comment on Inniss handling of the agm as chair. paul maxwell is the dominant personality in that leadership. i mean you can see and feel it. the question is whether he is capable and trustworthy and so far the financials says he is . one of the disapointments of the blog culture is that it leads people to believe that the real world coincides with all blog views. I have to admit i went to the meeting expecting issues to raise their head big time. and maybe i was probably wanting them to emerge too.

    there are what…50k plus members and a few ppl posting on here. we have to be responsible because when doom doesnt appear to come it makes it look like we want leadership to fail to prove a point about the sky falling in. I dont want them to fail. I think there is risk being adopted too. but i also think they can be succesful if the members hold them to their mission.


  12. @Bush Tea – why can’t we agree that a credit union is both a cooperative and a financial institution? If you know everything about cooperative principles it does not mean that you can successfully run a credit union. Similarly, if you know everything about financial institutions that does not mean you can successfully run a credit union. Can we agree on that?

    I am not sure about all of this talk about going to members for every decision. BPWCUL had 55,000 members at March 2010, and maybe about 700 of them went to last year’s AGM. You are hardly going to get all of the people attending a meeting to agree, especially on major desicions, so let’s say 400 of them had voted to buy Clico Mortgage. You now have a decision for 55,000 members made by 400 members. That is less than 1% of the membership. Is it fair to gauge what the members want based on the 2% that attend the AGM?

    I guess they could have mailed out a document to all members giving the full analysis of the proposed purchase and then have a special meeting to approve the transaction. You could even have allowed members to mail in their votes or drop them off at the credit union. Let’s say all the members voted and 60% of them voted in favour of the acquisition. 22,000 members would not be getting their way. I am not sure this resolves the issue you are raising.

    If you want to argue though that as a courtesy the Board could have asked the members for their blessing of the purchase and the planned future direction, then I would probably agree with you.


    • What happened at the BPW AGM is endemic of Barbados society today.

      People are concerned but don’t know how to effectively articulate that concern.

      The BPW is making a quantum leap way from a core philosophy which has served it well and it is being rolled out as if it were a walk in the park.

      It is a foreboding thought but in the main blog sentiment on BU has been on the money regarding a number of issues.

      By the way did President Innis have to use the B word today?


    • @Brutus

      Credit union membership is based on a common bond, a linkage shared by savers and borrowers who belong to a specific community, organization, religion or place of employment. Credit unions pool their members’ savings deposits and shares to finance their own loan portfolios rather than rely on outside capital. Members benefit from higher returns on savings, lower rates on loans and fewer fees on average.

      You are being product centric in outlook, the thrust of the argument from Bush Tea, Caswell et al is the veering from a relevant philosophy.

      For example, in the current environment does it not serve member needs more to pursue a buyers club option?

      Such a decision would align better at this time as far as satisfying member needs compared to buying a ‘suspicious’ company, no disrespect to KPMG who we believe did the due diligence.


  13. Maybe an affordable group health insurance plan? Or offering group insurance plans ( home/auto/fire/flood etc )for the whole body.


  14. David – right now the members want loans but as you pointed out the credit union’s loan portfolio is already larger then recommended.


  15. Might anyone explain why Treasurer Paul Maxwell presented the 5 or 6 PEARL ratios that were favourable to BPW? Why not show all?


  16. Stay with deposits and loans and expand on that – no frills and thrills. Retail business is still the best banking business – predictable, stable profits. Talk to Sagicor’s CEO about moving away from bread and butter business – the Lloyds investment – hopefully, he will follow Guardian’s lead and sell it. If an entity has sufficient capital that it may risk a portion without any threat to its survival, risking a portion of it for a higher return is acceptable.


  17. Just only asking and Smooth chocolate, I apologize to each of you for my earlier comments, wherein I asked you to defer any drastic action that you were planning regarding your interest in the Credit Union. I do not wish to see any harm done to the Union, but I respect that each member will proceed in a manner that is based upon the member’s circumstances and in the member’s best interest.

    Baje42, standing still is actually a better strategy than expanding into losses. Talk to the CEO at Sagicor about Lloyds – hopefully, he will follow Guardian’s lead and sell it. We often fail to realize it, believing that doing nothing is a sign of failure, but doing nothing is better than doing something, if there is no viable alternative. The former management of CLICO would be more than happy if they were currently running a boring life insurance company, with boring investments. Sagicor may wish to forget about Lloyds – seeing that they plan to seek BA’s and CLICO’s boring life insurance business.


  18. @David

    Sorry to say these words, you have a lot of ignorant persons who attended the meeting just for voting and then disappear, i am now convinved that they are looking for a job for the umemployed Dean. St. Hill, i going for my money and buy Government Bonds, as simple as that.

    It is clear that the accounts were consolidated to hide certain information, but it evident that ther is a gravy train to be milked. I hknow that gove will not restore that income deductible element of 3000 so the union could will see a decline in deposit as was evident in the financail statements. there was no rebust deposits during the year, How can you expand into mortgage business to compete with you core business. How can you tell me that Capitav is governed by the company Act and directors are selected and the Central Bank agrred to that? How can yo have a marketing Department and your expense on marketing increased by almost 100%, are the people in marketing just paid a salary.


  19. @David and others – does Capita really compete with the credit for deposits? The credit union’s deposits come from come from members and as has been pointed out above this may be affected by the removal of the tax benefit for credit union savings. So the credit union will have a backlog of loan applications and possibly a large decline in new deposits to fund the loans. The credit union is going to have to fight very hard for deposits and the total deposit portfolio may decline, meaning that the loan portfolio must also decline.

    The mortgage company’s deposits will come from higher income individuals, and from companies and organizations. Perhaps even from other credit unions. I don’t think that the typical credit union member is going to a company like Capita, Globe Finance, Consolidated Finance or Signia to place deposits. Somebody correct me if I am wrong.

    David, note that I have already said that I agree that the Board could have gone to members, explain the strategy, and ask for the blessing of members.


  20. Let us continue to place other views in the public domain. This matter is far from done. Members will wake up when the balance sheet of the subsidiary companies begin to negatively impact BPW surplus.


  21. According to the Directors, there are 700 members with balances in excess of $100,000 – $70 million and many members just making it. They can provide an analysis of the balances to show number of members with balances in selected ranges $0 to $1,000 – $1,001 to $5,000 – $5,001 to $10,000 and so on and the value of the loans to members in each range. The Directors mentioned something about contacting the $100,000 club members.


  22. Brutus | June 19, 2011 at 8:04 AM |
    Brutus, is the plan to direct the members to Capita for loans out of those deposits, as the Union’s deposits decline?


  23. Alien – I don’t know what the plan is. I am just trying to add some balance to the discussion, and perhaps the directors have not done a good enough job of explaining the issues involved and the plans. Does the credit union have a strategic plan and was it explained to members and approved by them?


  24. Here is another consideration. There are a number of PEARLS ratios that speak to growth of the credit union (eg. number of members, deposits, loans, etc). A credit union with over 50,000 members in a population of under 300,000 is running out of growth potential – it can grow but the rate of growth may start to decline. I don’t know if the growth philosophy follows from credit union principles or from the need for stability of the financial institution, or from both. But I think that growth is a major challenge for the BPWCUL because deposits have to grow before anything else.


    • @Brutus

      To your post Submitted on 2011/06/19 at 8:24 AM

      If BPW intends to compete with banks then its strategy will blend well and your point about the need to grow is pertinent.

      One senses the business model for the BPW is a little wobbly at the moment.

      To your point about a strategy plan, that is a good point, maybe Caswell can assist.

      @Alien

      Paul Maxwell no doubt believes that if 700 members have 100 hundred thousand then they have more money elsewhere 1, and 2 the credit union needs to ensure they are happy to prevent them running away.


    • Is it not customary for a public company, in this case Capita, to publish its audited balance sheet online if it owns a website?

      All in keeping with transparency?


  25. Alien – those are some interesting statistics on large deposits at the credit union. I would guess that a lot of those people have most of their savings in the credit union and have built up those deposits over a lifetime.

    David – you have allowed Caswell to make you nervous about the financial position and performance of Capita, but he is just guessing and fishing. We should try and get Capita’s audited financial statements and analyze them.


  26. Brutus, if this is the plan, and Capita is to become a bank, the humans and animals are looking the same. The members will need to make some decisions to either sell Capita and revert now or, if the Union is destined to cease, direct the Directors to take action to have Capita’s ownership transferred directly to the members. If all business is directed to Capita and Capita becomes a bank, given how the Directors responded to queries regarding Capita, the members must be sure that when some larger bank makes an offer to acquire Capita Bank, the current Union members are the ones to benefit, not a few officers and directors with large closing bonuses for leading the members to the sale.


  27. @ Brutus
    @Bush Tea – why can’t we agree that a credit union is both a cooperative and a financial institution?
    *******************************************
    Because it is NOT. This is actually like chalk and cheese

    A financial institution is an organization which is established to utilize capital (to exploit the fact that people need some degree of capital to live successful lives), in order to generate profits for the owners of the invested capital…..usually without regard to the social impact on the exploited users.

    A Credit Union is a cooperative arrangement between a group of people (usually with some common bond) which is established to pool the common financial resources of the group, in order to to meet the individual financial needs of group members, so that its members are protected from the uncaring exploitation of financial institutions.

    They CANNOT be the same.

    When Credit Unions seek to invest in ‘big business’ and to garner high ROIs and huge retained earnings, it is a clear sign that the leaders and the members have lost their way as co-operators.

    As someone said above, PWCCUL should have been asking its members questions like:
    1 – In the current situation how can the credit union best be of help to you?
    2 – Are we providing the kind of financial services that you currently need most? and if not what are these?
    3 – What are we doing that is not what you really need at this time?
    etc
    A simple survey can do all this Brutus. The Board will then have clear directions from members of what it SHOULD be doing.

    How many people do you think would opt to use their money to buy CLICO assets?


    • @Brutus

      Caswell raised the point about the BPW credit union giving members consolidated financials to discuss at the GM, this annoyed members yesterday thankfully and a motion was passed to breakout BPW financials for next AGM.

      What is happening here is that we are bringing a level of analysis which a controlled plus passive membership of the BPW membership has been unable to bring.

      Also, you seem to be missing the point that in a market where the banks are swimming in deposits BPW has not been only able to generate moderate deposit growth. This speaks to something which needs to be better analyzed.

      What the situation means is that BPW will have to pay premium for deposits (time deposits) in lieu of the cheaper savings. It will mess with its cost base which violently contravenes its credit union philosophy articulated by Bush Tea above.


    • A credit union using ONE of the ‘Bourne philosophy’ is to promote thrift.

      If we look at their Loan:Deposit ratio members are obviously borrowing more than they are saving.

      The business model seems to be a little dysfunctional at the moment.


  28. Think about it Brutus….
    If your Credit Union was actually seeking to find out WHAT YOU NEED, and then responding to meet those needs…..nothing less than full commitment from members would follow.
    …when all this is done completely transparently and openly, and caringly (by unpaid volunteers) then there is FULL TRUST, reinforcing that commitment.

    The co-operative is THE righteous business model…. Bush Tea FULLY expects that this will be the business model of the future -when BBE’s will ‘will be done on Earth, as it is in heaven’


  29. Although Capita secures deposits from higher net worth individuals to fund loans, the Union members provide the capital investment to operate Capita. So has capital been diverted from providing loans to members to providing loans to non-members in the hope of making higher profits?


  30. @Alien – at March 2010 the credit union had $39 million of members’ money in cash and cash equivalents. Where do you think that money is sitting and how much do you think the credit union is earning on it. There was also $54M in investments. Furthermore the credit union’s loan portfolio is too high right now compared to its deposits (based on PEARLS).

    @David – I can agree with your post at 9:17 am. Perhaps the credit union should look again at how much members can borrow against their deposits. The members who want to borrow won’t like this but the members who have large deposits at risk might like it.


  31. @Bush Tea – based on your definition of “financial institution” I can see why we will never agree.


  32. Brutus, are you referring to deposits held with the Central Bank?

    Is the only reasonable next step to secure the support of 50 members to convene a special meeting to deal with one matter – All things relating to Capita? No need to rush – no other business to be done.


  33. @ Brutus
    @Bush Tea – I don’t know what membership surveys the credit union has done. Do you?
    ********************************
    …actually yes…..
    but that is not the main point of my post. The point is that the credit union NEEDS to be member driven in its strategic planning.
    The results of such a survey should be the DRIVING influence at any general meeting.

    WRT the bushman’s definitions (off the cuff so just personal expressed definitions) how do we differ wrt financial institutions?

    Do note that the fact that a bank may be CARING and helpful to the extent that this approach helps it to reach its FINANCIAL goals is not to be confused with the credit union’s FUNDAMENTAL mandate to be caring and helpful to its BOSSES – the members.

    There is a diametrically opposite philosophical divide here that the Bushman is sure that you do appreciate…LOL


  34. All this is very disturbing,members looking to withdraw their funds and membership.It appears that the directors now see themselves as gods and the members simply followers.I must confess that I too feel the urge to with draw membership.Too many things appear not to be in sinc with the very concept of a credit union.Lots more details on this proposed company Capita needed.Return to the total membership for approval since it is our money being played with.


    • @Brutus

      To your earlier point note that the deposit position in 2010 was Deposits 556 million : Loans 545 million, in 2011 the number is reported as deposits 673 : Loans 712 million.

      Were any questions asked of the Board/CEO on this negative trend?


  35. In the absence of individual growth, the CU can seek to have current members increase their savings through effective marketing strategies that will give returns on double and long term savings. This can sustain for a season. For Long-term sustainability the CU will then have to target 16 to 25 age group (school leavers, university graduates) whose revenue is mostly based on parents income.


  36. However, this will never be able to sustain because to borrow is a greater risk to the CU. And, we can never predict the measure of a recession.


  37. David | June 19, 2011 at 9:52 AM |
    Remember that Capita is a private company, ultimately 100% owned by BPWCCUL. However, while I need to look at the act, I am confident that the majority of members, at a meeting, as with shareholders, can demand what information they want, subject to the law.

    If you are a member and reading this, how many members can you get to sign a request for a meeting to consider only all matters relating to Capita?


    • @Alien

      You are correct CAPITA is a private company and therefore not obligated n to publish publicly, it seems the BPW Board was also reluctant to share CAPITA’s financials with the owners at yesterday’s meeting hence the consol.


    • @Brutus

      Based on our checks 458 members attended the AGM in 2010 and a lesser amount (estimated) on the weekend.

      It is the passivity of Bajans and a lethargy which has crept into how we do things.


  38. Capita is a private company but it is also a regulated financial institution. I know that financial information is published in the newspaper and the official gazette. I don’t know if they give you full copies of the audited financial statements but my reading of the Financial Institutions Act says they should.


  39. @Bush Tea – I just saw your last post. I have been saying “financial institution” not “bank”, but as you well know there is also such a thing as a cooperative bank.

    Credit unions are financial institutions because they take deposits and use the funds to make loans – simple. They therefore have to be regulated like financial institutions in order to protect depositors (ie. the members). This is why you have the PEARLS ratio as best practice – these ratios are not applicable to all cooperatives.

    I agree with you that there should not be a profit motive, but as a financial institution the credit union needs adequate surplus and capital to reduce the possibility of failure – again, this is captured in the PEARLS ratios.

    I also agree with you that the credit union should be member-driven and member-focused. It seems however that most members prefer to leave this responsibility to the directors and are not uncomfortable with the leadership and direction. We are hearing on this blog a few voices out of over 50,000 and only 700 or 800 go to the AGM.


  40. So much for blogs and bloggers

    The Annual General Meeting yielded a mixed bag for the members. The elected committee where chastened for their poor reports, the supervisory report the most dismal of them all. But that bad report resulted in the Chairman of that committee being elevated to the status of a director, through none other that the vehicle of the highly questionable election process.

    The credit committee report was hard to read as the presentation of the graphs and charts told no story at all to members and therefore the chairman of that committee spent his time explaining things that should have been obvious to members had it been presented better in the report, no invasive questions of substance were therefore asked and accordingly he too was elevated to the post of director.

    Congratulations Chairperson!

    Now let’s turn our attention to the Board report. The President, never delivered the report!

    After that mouthful, it can be particularly said that all the reports, including the financial which told us nothing about the entity that concerns us, were accepted by members. Even after raising concerns with how each was presented. One would think that at least the Financials, if not all the reports, should have been rejected.

    At the meeting we learnt the Mr. Paul Maxwell was Director of the Barbados Public Workers Cooperative Credit union Ltd. (at least up to yesterday), at the same time he is on the Board of the holding company, and he is on the Board and CEO of CAPITA.

    We subsequently learnt that Ms. Clorinda Alleyne is CEO of Barbados Public Workers Cooperative Credit union Ltd. and at the same time she is on the Board of the holding company, and she is on the Board of CAPITA.

    More interestingly, Mr. Hurley is on the Board of the holding company, and he is on the Board of CAPITA.

    No questions were postulate after this disclosure by Mr. Maxwell himself.

    More and more mounting questions were further brought that dealt with issues of Governance and accountability, especially those well articulated by a nice looking young lady wearing a blue top (don’t know her name *smile*). But to my surprise two motions were moved from the floor of the meeting and carried by members, this speaks to some dim flicker of hope for the institution which has become entrenched with constant rotation of Directors in recent years.

    There was also talk about a Consumer’s Cooperative which was slapped down over the years by those who felt that it had nothing to do with our core business, Mr. St Hill and company. In those years efforts were expended by the Board in setting up Carifs. Today in a climate were members are struggling to make ends meet and to build their saving deposits and Carifs have taken its toll on members deposits. Now the treasurer at the meeting dusted off the old Consumer Cooperative and presented it as something now to engage the attention of the Board.

    The chairmanship of the meeting was lauded by a member, to much applause; I wonder what is in it for him. Seeing that he was also very engaging on the issues of governance along with other noted figures such a Bellamy, Boyce, Holder and some others whose names I do not recall.

    In summary, members are not consistent in the issues and concerns being discussed and in their willingness to adopt shoddy reports or to vote for dismally performing elected official. The meeting still allows for elections to run concurrent to other items on the agenda, and yes I saw a lady place two white votes in the ballot boxes in the presence of the guards. This is certainly not a guarantee of one vote per member.

    So much for blogs and bloggers not a person said peep about the issues raised on this blog.


    • @Member

      Thanks for the report but you need to turn your wrath at the 400+ who sat ignorantly at the AGM and allowed the Board to spin its yarn unchallenged.

      Interestingly among the audience were William Layne, the outspoken and retired Permanent Secretary and head of the CLICO oversight committee, perhaps he was battling conflict of interest issues,, Ralph Boyce, head of Mesa, Hally Haynes, head of the credit union league, Manager responsible for credit unions at the FSS and the list continues.

      Yes blame BU, here is what we think, some members were in the audience who wanted to say something but were scared and intimidated at the surroundings,

      BU suspects the staff at BPW and the board all read the blog and were prepared but there was no need, Bajans again showed how passive they are in situations which warrant advocacy.


    • Here is a link to a credit union called Navy Federal which is reputed to be the largest credit union in the world. See how the financials are presented.
      here is a link to their About Page.


  41. @Member – thanks for that report.

    The Supervisory Committee needs to be totally independent from the Board in order to be effective. Maybe members of that committee should not be permitted to serve on the board until a few years have passed, and board members should not be permitted to move straight onto the supervisory committee. I was also surprised that the committee has so few members. Should the committee include individuals who are not credit union members? Should the internal auditor report directly to that committee as well and not to the Board? Should the internal auditor have to report to members in the annual report and at the AGM. Is more internal audit staff needed?

    I am trying to think of ways that the Board can be effectively challenged, in a constructive way.

    Does the BPWCUL (or the movement) need an ombudsman? 50,000 members is a very large number so some novel approached are needed.


  42. I do not recall seeing, but honestly was not looking out for the statements. A request to the CEO of BPWCCUL may be sufficient.

    50,000 members, but how many with a small or net loan balance? These members are not at risk and probably cannot be bothered. $28 million of possible bad loans is significant. The appropriate committee should also report on whether any impaired loans resulted from loans to staff, directors or related parties – all for transparency. The By-laws do allow members to inspect the books of BPWCCUL.


  43. Member | June 19, 2011 at 11:22 AM |
    I agree with you that the issues were not raised. I too was fearful, due to a lack of knowledge of the relevant legislation – if you plan to eventually challenge the Directors, you need to maintain your credibility. It a change is going to be made, those seeking to make the change must find a cause, in the interest of the members, which they can win – the secrecy around Capita may be that opportunity. Members seeking to make a change must also be willing to make the sacrifice to serve, if they succeed. There is no value in dismantling those that currently serve, only to neglect the Union.


  44. HAPPY FATHER DAY,,,to all de father out there,well last week i was get in de zr, goin down by de river, to chat with me old friend. from black rock, u no he tell ma that there are still nuff people in barbados that ent goin and deal with them immigration status, in barbados and some of them was livin in barbados over 30 year ah go,i feel that de immigration dept should put out ah notice tell de ppl to come in, and get the immigration status organize.by de way i glad that we zr van goin to son carry 26 seater, cause when i get de van and de rain fall i does have to get out in de rain.


  45. old man river, | June 19, 2011 at 12:10 PM |
    I did not note it, but I think Cedric Murrell, Glendon Belle and Anthony Griffin – some one will correct this if I am incorrect.


  46. David, we were part of the 400+ members in attendance. We came here and highlighted the apparent issues, but no one took the time to really prepare and was therefore not confident to challenge the Board. This is all part of the process – when the burning desire is really there, someone will make that move.


  47. David wrote “Bajans again showed how passive they are in situations which warrant advocacy.”

    We have created a nation of passive individuals.

    All those old mantras, “respect your elders, be quiet and listen, do as I say not as I do,
    don’t raise your voice.

    Hants did not learn those lessons very well, when my money is involved.

    Bajans are conditioned to believe that the highly educated big ups will look after their interest.Just ask the Lawyers.lol


  48. Thanks for the links David.

    The Supervisory Committee report confirms the logic in at least two of the suggestions I made above. It says that
    (1) the supervisory committee (and not the Board) engages the auditors and meets regularly with them during the year to evaluate audit results and plan future work, and
    (2) “Acting as your ombudsman, the Supervisory Committee assures that all Navy Federal members are heard by maintaining open communication with them”.


  49. @David | June 19, 2011 at 12:59 PM |

    yes i agree members were intimidated but that does not necessitate that they will be bullied into doing nothing. i too wanted clarity about CAPITA. inspite of what Terrol inniss and his cohorts tried to put across, at the end of the day mature people, if not satisfied some will withdraw their membership. there’s more than one way to kill a cat. also i believed too that if the annual reports were available at least a week before the meeting, the members would have been able to thoroughly peruse it and then would have been more comfortable and better prepared in asking questions at the meeting. The Credit Union had the upper because they knew that it would have been impossible to thoroughly examine the annual reports in that short space of time. this might be far-fetched but sitting there yesterday and hearing the trivial way they dealt with the acquisition of capita purchased with members, funds lead me to think that this was another Trade Confirmers or CLICO in embryonic stage.

    I really would like to know and i will write to them on this issue, will the credit union members be given dividends/interest periodically as in now done with the Public workers? or will they have to purchase shares in order to share in its surplus? Also if the co. makes a surplus who willl get the benefits


    • Here is a Fact Sheet of the Navy Credit Union which BPW would do well to read.

      @smooth chocolate

      You raised a good point, some members will keep quiet and bail which is unfortunate.


  50. @ Brutus
    The Supervisory Committee report confirms the logic in at least two of the suggestions I made above
    *******************************
    LOL We will make a top credit unionist out of you yet. …rotfl

    David jumped directly to the world’s largest, but there are numerous other VERY large credit unions which OPERATE VERY SUCCESSFULLY as credit unions,,,,, (have you noted that despite their BILLIONS in assets they were NOT involved in the initially lucrative sub-prime lending debacle? …they were focused on their true mission and purpose.)

    You mentioned a co-operative bank.
    This is another very viable cooperative opportunity. In this model, either individual members, or individual cooperatives can come together to pool resources to provide needed banking SERVICES FOR MEMBERS.
    It is NOT to create a bank as a profit centered institution.
    There can also be co-op farms, industry, schools, electricity,…. ANYTHING that represents a common good or service that people need for their lives.

    With modern technology, it is now possible to have even better member involvement than was possible in the old days with few members.

    More education is needed – and more people like Caswell who understand the principles AND IS WILLING TO STAND UP LIKE A MAN AND DEFEND THEM. The others will get exactly what they deserve.


  51. There is nothing that will prevent me from stopping my contribution the the union, except that which goes to the pension fund. The savings i will draw off and buy govt bonds, and in september after inteterst is paid on the premiere plan i will break it.

    In the mean time i will get a copy of the company act and read it in relation to the appoinment of directors, i though with a private comapny you can chose directors, is capita a private company and should the members not be lecting diretors. Its it a fact that the Central Bank said it was okay to select diectors amd are members seeing what is happening or they dont have the ability to digest what is happening before their eyes.

    Some intereted questions were asked, but paul maxwell believes that he has tricked everyone, but not this one. How can you spend so much money on marketing, I will peruse the accounts and formally write the board.

    it was clear that the superviosry committe did not get full cooperation from the barod, that was stated by Mr. Murrell.


  52. Bush Tea | June 19, 2011 at 8:37 PM |
    You mentioned a co-operative bank.
    It is NOT to create a bank as a profit centered institution.

    Capita is currently profit centered, owned by BPWCCUL members and providing services to non-members. Upon conversion to Capita Bank, are the non-members weaned-off or does Capita serve a mixed clientele, with non-members paying a higher price than members for services. But why pay a premium for access to future profits and you will not pursue. It would have been cheaper to start a co-op bank.


  53. As it relates to companies under the Companies Act, as opposed to credit unions, the shareholders of company-A elect a board of directors to manage company-A from a policy perspective – officers and other staff are employed to execute the policies of the board. The board is free to manage company-A, without reverting to the shareholders, except for certain matters, for which shareholder approval is required – making fundamental changes being one. The board can manage and grow the business that the shareholders entrust to it, but it cannot fundamentally change the business without the prior approval of the shareholders. If company-A acquires company-B, company-A, as the sole shareholder of company-B, has the full authority to elect the board of company-B. But company-A, is managed by a board, so the board of company-A appoints a representative and directs the representative how to vote at the shareholder’s meeting of company-B. The shareholders of company-A do not directly elect the directors of company-B. However, the shareholders of company-A can remove the board of company-A if they are uncomfortable with the manner in which the board of company-A is executing its responsibility regarding the election of the board of company-B. In short, if extended to BPWCCUL, the BPWCCUL members cannot elect the board of Capita, but can terminate the board of BPWCCUL if they do not like how the board is executing its responsibility in electing the board of Capita.


  54. @ David
    Most likely, the owners of Capita are not the members of PWCCUL but the credit union itself as a body. this ownership would be exercised by persons appointed by the Board. So members will technically have no say in the Capita decision making.
    Any profits declared will accrue to the credit union, but all of the decisions leading up to declaration of profits will be the Capita Board’s. If you understand how business works you may see how attractive this will be for Board members.

    This whole idea is anti co-operative in principle. It is (as said before,) a case of a credit union being hijacked by persons with big business ideas and dreams – to be financed with other people’s money. A recipe for disaster.


  55. @ Alien
    By definition, NO co-operative is for profit.
    Cooperatives are to provide goods or services for members using volunteer services for committees.
    If therefore a credit union wishes to use members funds to purchase or create an institution to provide services to NON members, this matter should have been discussed at length BEFOREHAND, and clear strategic guidelines established for the whole project.

    The talk about converting Capita to a ‘Co-op Bank’ now sounds like typical civil service mentality kicking in after they realize that there is no real future in the initial Capita nonsense….it is just talk to keep the victims (oops members) distracted…

    ….misguided directors and blinded members….. together they will get exactly what they deserve.


    • @Bush Tea

      Always understood it just wanted to lead to lead in to the point which apparently was made by the President at the BPW AGM.

      CAPITA’s Board will decide how shares are allocated and NOT BPW members.


  56. If BWPWCCUL has no say in deciding the board, when a loss is made at capita r u telling
    that i have no recourse, but to accept the lost. R U saying the directors of capita can take the company where it wants and God forbid, make a loss, r u saying the mebers of the union will be saddled by that loss, even theough they have not directed the strategic focu of capita?

    Someone answer as you know i only know about interest on my money. Help. Help, Pity that govt restict privae investment in those bonds. Before i go to work I shall end up in the bank enquiring baout them and then will fly over to the credit union with haste.Mitigating my risk, i think that is what it is called.


  57. @Bush Tea

    I thought it was stated that the credit union (ours) is the owner of capita and whatever that company in st lucia name, so how can u tell me that maybe the owners of capita are not the owners of bpwccul. I thought that if we own 100% that our risk is 100%. That means that we have to also obtain Capita’s articles of association.


  58. You are getting scared a bit too late. When I first joined the credit all new members were invited to an orientation session where all your rights, responsibilities and obligations were explained. This is no longer done, and it keeps the members in ignorance while a selected few do whatever they like because the majority of the membership don’t know what is going on and only turn up to meetings for the food.

    Members did not give the board permission to purchase Clico Mortgage Finance Company, but the board knew full well that the membership was too passive to do anything besides talk.

    When the board of directors had plans drawn and had already received Town planning permission to build the complex at Belmont Road, without obtaining permission from the membership, I filed an injunction to prevent them moving ahead without members’ permission. I did that even though I was in agreement with the board that the building was necessary.

    The credit union is no longer a members’ owned and controlled organization. It is now an organization controlled by a few who want to play big businessmen without any risk to themselves. They will continue until they crash the credit union because they know that even the regulators can be and have been bought off with dinner for them and their mother. To be fair, the mother ws not invited, but the regulator had the good sense to bring along mummy for protection.


  59. Caswell

    Can yo address the question i put o bush tea, is the infromation he put on the blog correct about not having any say in elcetnig directors, and if we own100% what about the risk if we have no say in electing directors as he has stated.

    See yah when i get back from the bank abot govt bonds.


  60. Just only asking
    I do not know about the manner of electing directors of Capita as I have not seen the articles of association. I imagine that none of the members outside the core group that planned this unsanctioned purchase has seen the document.

    Before you buy Gov’t bonds, consider joining another credit union. COB has problems like any organization where human beings interact, but there is a more enlightened membership who would not permit the same behaviour for long.

    Recently, there were some problems between the board and a group of concerned members. I was flattered: representatives of both groups sought my advice and eventually pursuaded me to become a member. YOU CAN JOIN TOO!


  61. I am wondering if in all of this is there sufficient support for Sections 128c & 134 of the cooperative societies act to be invoked by members in a special General meeting called for that purpose.

    Please don’t ask me to explain go do some homework so we all too will be informed and not just be a bunch actionless, knowledgeless bloggers (Rabble Rousers).

    Having bought and establish Capita, I think that if members are not happy then they should move a special resoultion to have the company CAPITA converted into a registered society – Section 129(1)-(3). Fire Paul and Corinda and live happily ever after. Of course that will bring the credit union bank to a sudden halt, for those that care. the risk of doing such are listed under section 130
    These are a few of our options. I will invite debate


  62. Member
    If you attempt to amalgamate Capita with BPWCCUL, you will have to get the consent of persons who have outstanding loans, who are not already members of the credit union. You will have problems with those that refuse to join since a credit union cannot have loans with non members. Section 200 (1) of the Co-operative Societies Act states:
    Loans may be made only to members.


  63. That I know look at option 2 division

    Corinda, Dean and Paul and they numbers will decide on Belmont or Broad street and then Warrens or Six Roads, split the assets in a ratio to members and create space for a new National Cooperative with similar asset bases 840, 000, 000, /2 = 420, 000, 000 which is not far from where the credit union was last year and both will still be the biggest. Of Course this is trivial as such a divion is more complicated but just look at the train of thought. We return to a cooperative where there is no relationship between the govern and those that govern, No bonus to staff on the day before AGMs, No credit cards to be exploited, no corrupt and entrenched directors that cannot be moved.


  64. Remember the same persons that deem Clico too big to fail are the same persons that encourage the credit union to follow suit and buy the entity Capita. and then took away tax consessions etc.


  65. Fifty BPWCCUL members may demand a special meeting for the purpose of having the Board review and respond to questions relating to the acquisition, operations and future of Capita Financial Services Inc. (Capita). Fifty members are required for a quorum to conduct business, so, as long as the demanding members attend, you will have a quorum. Having received the information requested, the members can establish a date for a follow-up meeting to consider any further action relating to Capita.

    During the period before the follow-up meeting, the members can further review the information and deliberate on the matter. At the follow-up meeting, if a majority of members wish to proceed in the current direction, they can accept or ratify the Board’s actions regarding Capita and conclude this matter. If a majority of the members are uncomfortable with it, they can remove the Board and elect a new Board that is sympathetic to their cause, with a directive as to how to proceed with Capita. The members that are uncomfortable should, at a minimum, have identified persons to be elected to the new Board, in the event that they are successful in removing the current Board. The new Board may be directed to develop a plan of action regarding the disposal of Capita, not necessarily immediately, for presentation to the members at a future meeting. A plan may be to maintain Capita as a mortgage company until such time that it may be sold without a significant loss to the BPWCCUL.

    The power of a board is in the inability of shareholders/members to organize. Where there is a controlling shareholder, a board is not so free to do as it pleases. There has been sufficient talk, it is time to determine if at least fifty members really wish to understand the Capita issue and accept it or bring it to an end. Review the below message and attachment and provide your feedback here for it to be made final and provided to David to be posted.

    “Dear BPWCCUL (Barbados Public Workers’ Co-operative Credit Union Limited) members, some of you have expressed concern with the actions taken by the Board to acquire Capita, the apparent reluctance by the Board to be forthright with information regarding Capita’s operations and the manner in which decisions relating to Capita are being made. It is possible that everything done by the Board is legitimate and that Capita is a good investment. However, it is not sensible for the members to blindly allow the Board to oversee almost $1 billion, without being fully transparent in and accountable for its actions. It is suggested that the members demand a special general meeting to consider all matters relating to Capita, including its acquisition, operations and future direction. After considering all of the matters, the members can then make a decision to accept the Board’s actions regarding Capita or remove the Board and elect a new Board to execute the members’ wishes regarding Capita. If you are in support of convening such a meeting, please print the attached Demand and have it signed by as many members as possible. You can periodically report here on the number of signatures collected. When fifty signatures have been secured, the members in possession of the signed forms can arrange to meet, copy and deliver the signed forms. If you sign the attached Demand, you need to be prepared for the possibility that the Board may resign. You should therefore give some thought to suitable replacements to lead BPWCCUL before the meeting is convened. If fifty signatures are not secured, you should consider this matter closed. ”

    The attached MS Word document to read as follows:

    Demand for Special General Meeting of the Members of Barbados Public Workers’ Co-operative Credit Union Limited
    Reference: o6182011

    Pursuant to By-law 28 of Barbados Public Workers’ Co-operative Credit Union Limited (BPWCCUL), we the undersigned members of BPWCCUL hereby demand a special general meeting of the members of BPWCCUL. The object of the proposed meeting being to:

    1.0 – Have the Board present to, and review for the benefit of, the members the financial aspects of the acquisition of CLICO Mortgage & Finance Corporation (CMFC);
    1.1 – Have the Board respond to questions from the members regarding the acquisition of CMFC;
    2.0 – Have the Board present to, and review for the benefit of, the members the most recent audited financial statements of Capita Financial Services Inc.;
    2.1 – Have the Board respond to questions from the members regarding the most recent audited financial statements of CMFC;
    3.0 – Have the Board present to, and review for the benefit of, the members the strategic plan for Capita Financial Services Inc. (CFSI);
    3.1 – Have the Board respond to questions from the members regarding the strategic plan for CFSI;
    4.0 – Have an open discussion regarding any and all matters relating to CFSI;
    5.0 – Determine a date for a follow-up meeting to consider: (a) acceptance of the Board’s actions regarding CFSI; (b) removal of the current Board and election of a new Board; and (c) any other business relating to CFSI.


    • @Private

      The best way to get your 50 names plus a few more for comfort is to solicit from the government departments.


  66. David, thank you. I enjoy my private life and intend for it to remain private. There was much discussion, but no progress and some concerned members appeared not to understand how to proceed. Here, I am offering a way forward. I have no desire to lead or to serve. It is up to the concerned members to take this and advance the process. The message here is not to disrupt it if you cannot better it.


    • @Private

      It depends on how you measure progress.

      The kind of discussion which is being engaged here you will not find elsewhere.

      The other point is as Alien suggested yesterday, it will take time to persuade BPW members that the credit union belongs to them.

      The statement is oxymoronic we know.


  67. Good Job Private. You have certainly responded in the vein that I appreciate – How do we begin to solve the problem. Now i suspect that at such a meeting one will get the distinct impression that the Board of Director will not be in a position to articulate the position and direction of CAPITA without the input of outsiders such as KPMG and Paul Maxwell. This will clearly show that the Board of Directors as presently constituted is out of their depth and that the credit Union have no business in the corporate world.
    I suggest that a meeting be held first, for concern persons to present their concerns freely without any obligations, and then the way forward should be charted by a selected committee. This is what cooperative is about members organizing. This will give that matter legitimacy and move members away from anonymity to organize action.
    I am for it as long as it remains decent and does not impugn the reputations of no members.


  68. Let’s have an open air meeting for members of the BPWCCUL in Queens Park on July 23rd, 2011 @ 6.00pm at Queens Park, provided there is no adverse weather. I am available at this time, but if you so desire I would not object to an earlier meeting . I would have to be briefed of the proceedings as I am not on the island.

    The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the calling of a Special General Meeting as suggested by Private


  69. Hope someone can develop that advertisement of the meeting and post it so members can print it and circulate it at their work places.


  70. @Caswell

    Wlll join COB, already bought the bonds from my savings. I stopped my savings and will only continue to contribute to my pension plan. Did not get to draw off the money to pay for the bonds, but will get there before the end of this week to replenish my savings.

    I thought that a lot of questions would have been asked at the AGM, but was disappointed.


  71. I am sure that we are entitled to use the conference room of the credit uion if we cant get the park.. can someone check on that?

    David the flyer is okay but the date might prevent me from being there as i might have to leave the island either 22 or 23 rd. Hope it can be brought up a week earlier. What about NUPW members requesting the use of NUPW Headquarters. If that is okay will check about the avialbility tomorrow.


  72. @just only asking: “…but the date might prevent me from being there as i might have to leave the island either 22 or 23 rd. Hope it can be brought up a week earlier.”

    Do the rules allow a proxy vote?


  73. @Franklyn: “There is no proxy voting in a Co-operative.

    Why not?

    At any meeting, some members may not be available at that particular date and time and place.

    True Democracy would seem to wish to still hear and consider their votes.


  74. Christopher
    Members of co-operatives are supposed to attend and actively participate in the decision making of the organization. You can’t actively participate if you are not present.
    Co-operatives were originally organised on seven co-operative principles: the second principle states:
    2nd Principle: Democratic Member Control
    Co-operatives are democratic organisations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary co-operatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and co-operatives at other levels are also organised in a democratic manner.

    Attending and participating in meetings is so fundamental to co-operatives that Barbados has gone as far as legislating co-operative principles. Section 4 (1) of the Co-operative Societies Act states in part:
    For the purposes of this Act, a society conforms to co-operative principles if
    (b) no member or delegate is entitled to vote by proxy.

    A credit union could be struck of the register if it does not conform to co-operative principles.


    • To those members who are interested in mobilizing you are free to email or print the link for distribution.

      BU will release it on Facebook and Twitter and others can do the same.

      BU will also create a separate blog on the meeting this week and find time to create a button to place on the sidebar.

      The ball is now in the court of those concerned credit union members to do some work to ensure the message is disseminated.


  75. @Daivid

    am i missing something, you said bu will create separte bolg for the meeting this week? Where and what meeting is schelduled for this week.


  76. @Caswell: to your response to me at June 21, 2011 at 11:30 PM…

    Thank you, as always, for your precise and accurate answer.

    I have to wonder, though, the logic in forbidding proxy voting.

    I appreciate that the “co-operative movement” is based on participation, but at the end of the day some, some members may simply not be able to be at a meeting where an important vote is held.

    From my experience, almost all companies’ by-laws allow proxy voting by their shareholders. And, by definition, members of a co-operative are shareholders.

    But setting this aside, if proxy voting is not allowed, is a member allowed to vote in absentia by way of a signed document or some other instrument?


  77. @just only asking | June 21, 2011 at 10:13 PM | U SAID:
    I am sure that we are entitled to use the conference room of the credit uion if we cant get the park.. can someone check on that?

    just only asking | June 22, 2011 at 8:23 AM | U SAID:
    @Daivid
    am i missing something, you said bu will create separte bolg for the meeting this week? Where and what meeting is schelduled for this week

    AM I MISSING SOMETHING HERE?

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