He said that only one CEO of a Credit Union disagreed totally. “Another CEO was enthusiastic about the initiative, which he considered vital to the growth and development of the Movement,” he said.
There is a saying that the devil is always in the detail. Last week former Governor of the Central Bank Courtney Blackman – contracted to do a study – gave his support to the idea of the credit unions in Barbados owning a commercial bank. It was instructive to listen to the former Governor at a press conference last week flanked by Hally Haynes from the Barbados Credit Union League. He gave his support to the idea. Truth be told there was no mention of the business plan – if any exist – and what are the ‘money’ considerations. He referenced feedback from credit union members or what the marketers refer to as qualitative information. In his words, “The large majority of Credit Union members interviewed supported in principle, the establishment of a Bank by the League, but several expressed various reservations”. It is positive that credit union members are supportive, buyin is obviously needed from the membership to move forward.
Of concern to BU is the revelation by Blackman that one credit union is not supporting of the idea. The Barbados Advocate article quotes Blackman, “… only one CEO of a Credit Union disagreed totally. “Another CEO was enthusiastic about the initiative, which he considered vital to the growth and development of the Movement”. After investigating the matter the credit union opposing the idea was identified in the Business Authority as the City of Bridgetown (COB). Using deductive reasoning it is not hard to conclude that the other credit union enthusiastic about the idea is Barbados Public Workers Cooperative Credit Union (BPWCCU). The recommendation afterall is for Capita to be transformed into a bank.
Why is this information important? After BPWCCU, COB appears to be next in line. How can we have a decision to establish a bank owned by the credit unions and COB is not part of it? A visit to the World Council of Credit Union website shows total assets for credit unions in Barbados as USD733, COB’s website shows total assets USD160 and BPWCCU’s USD420. BU readers can do the math to appreciate the impact COB’s non participation is likely to have on the success of the Barbados Credit Union League to establish a bank. The question therefore is why was this not addressed in more detail by Governor Blackman et al? Why did the media practitioners present at the press conference not press for feedback on this matter?
It is no secret that Caswell Franklyn, an expert in these matters, has ‘stridently’ listed his position on BU. Why establish a bank? Why not amend existing legislation to allow credit unions to offer services not currently allowed?
Do we need more information about the pros and cons about the credit unions, very successful to date, establishing a bank? How about asking COB’s CEO why they are not onboard with the idea? We need transparency in our affairs now more than ever.