Why Barbados Public Workers is in the News Again

In recent weeks there has been noise in the traditional and social media space triggered by concerns coming out of the largest credit union in Barbados. It is no secret the blogmaster in the not too recent past registered concerns about how some matters were being managed at Barbados Public Workers Cooperative Credit Union (BPWCCUL) and subsidiaries, specifically CAPITA Financial

It says a lot about the current state of member relations at BPWCCUL a few vocal members felt driven to share concerns in the public space. The blogmaster must admit a lot of the concerns are steeped in ignorance. Several of the few voicing concerns readily admitted to not having attended AGMs or having read relevant laws and rules governing how members should interact with the credit union it owns. For the purpose of this intervention the blogmaster will ignore those prominent persons from other credit unions seeking to ‘exploit’.

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The BPWCCUL is not blameless to what is currently generating bad press and concerns from members. Having read BPWCCUL’s public statement on the matter and another by the Central Bank of Barbados, it is obvious the decision to refuse BPWCCUL’s subsidiary CAPITA an extension to filing 2022 financials and levying a fine of $18,000 could have been managed to achieve a better outcome. Was it reported the St. Lucia regulator approved an extension for the late submission of financials where CAPITA also operates?

The two local regulators in Barbados must be aware of a latent distrust by Barbadians of non bank financial institutions given the negative experience arising from Trade Confirmers, CLICO and a few others in recent decades. Why couldn’t the Central Bank of Barbados and Financial Services Commission approve the late submission conditional on providing an Action Plan to address issues that caused the problem by a specific date? As far as the blogmaster is aware this is the first time CAPITA missed the deadline for submission? Financial institutions are known to operate in a confidence sensitive environment and restoring confidence is not addressed by nicely worded public relations statements.

Not withstanding the above the blogmaster is concerned about the recycling of a few members from Board to Committees and Committees to Board who appear to control decision making at BPWCCUL and City of Bridgetown (COB). In fact it is a countrywide problem with members in ignorance ceding control of institutions AND country to a few who feed narrow interest.

To credit union members, you will get what you deserve if you ignore the opportunities provided in the governance process.

48 thoughts on “Why Barbados Public Workers is in the News Again

  1. Babylon system is a vampire
    White man’s heaven is a Black man’s hell
    but there will be a place in hell for all of them on judgement day

    This musing would have been better placed on a white blog
    but their censorship is even heavier than a black blog which is still heavy

    this righteous seed of thought has been planted in the mud which will grown into a beautiful lotus flower

    • BPWCCU has key role
      CREDIT UNIONS, “the penny banks of Barbados”, are expected by their members to follow the high ground consistently. This is a longstanding unwritten but respected rule.
      It is therefore not surprising that there has been razor-sharp public interest in the operations of the Barbados Public Workers’ Co-operative Credit Union (BPWCCU) following an outcry from some vocal members at and following the incomplete annual general meeting.
      As the island’s largest credit union, rumblings surrounding that institution cannot be ignored, since any negative fallout could affect the entire cooperative financial sector.
      The BPWCCU is a success story in a sector which has been dominated by foreign commercial banks and other deposit-taking and lending businesses. It has assets in excess of $1.7 billion and a membership of over 100 000.
      These are impressive figures and highlight why it requires astute leadership both at the strategic and operational levels. The governance of this organisation and its subsidiary, CAPITA Financial Services, requires the most competent talent to ensure it remains a sound business, managing
      all its potential risks, providing timely audits, being abreast of the technology and keeping members satisfied.
      The governance of this organisation and its subsidiary, CAPITA Financial Services, requires the most competent talent to ensure it remains a sound business . . . .
      This credit union falls into the category of Systemically Important Financial Institutions in Barbados. It cannot be allowed to fail.
      Activism and whistle-blowing are good moves to push for greater accountability, transparency and adherence to good corporate governance.
      There has also been a lot of spin from a slippery ball from some of the voices in the public debate.
      The glaring oversight by the credit union has been its lack of an effective crisis communications plan as the appropriate messaging has been lagging.
      This is not surprising since corporate communications is not a top-drawer business segment for many local institutions. The folly of such an approach has been laid bare in this instance.
      The entire debacle is unfortunate since few corporations have annual general meetings that are as democratic as those of credit unions. The
      attendance and participation by members and the vociferous display at general meetings do not usually occur at other shareholder meetings. The model of “one man, one vote” regardless of deposits is fully embraced within the movement.
      Positive actions
      The positive actions by credit unions sadly do not generate either the members’ endorsement or public discussion that is engulfing the BPWCCU. The role credit unions play in Barbados’ economy cannot be overlooked.
      Still, there is a reason for a candid conversation on the operations of the credit unions and members must not stand on the sidelines and simply criticise sotto voce.
      We agree that issues such as term limits, stamping out partisan politicalstyle election campaigning and having officers who do not understand the separation of powers or indeed their fiduciary responsibilities are matters to be addressed.
      The Barbados Public Workers’ Co-operative Credit Union as a member-centric organisation must listen to and embrace its members while articulating its actions. We should aspire for a strong, more resilient credit union movement.

      Today’s Nation Editorial

  2. This mantra clears the clouds of doubt and opens us to guidance and protection. It surrounds the aura with protective light, and strengthens your personal projection

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    Came the beginning
    This is the age
    Of the True Guru

    Sound of truth
    I bow to you
    Guide of my soul
    From the beginning

    Protect me
    Open my heart
    And I’ll be free
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    And I’ll be free
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  3. Why couldn’t…..well, they could have. Yet $18,000 is a tap on the wrist. And next time it will be $250,000. Or we’ll end up with an NIS, where they don’t report and no consequence.

    • Click here to see a web copy of this email


      I personally want to reassure you of the soundness and financial status of the Barbados Public Workers’ Co-operative Credit Union Limited’s Group of Companies (The Group).

      We are aware of the responsibility that comes with being the largest credit union in the Eastern Caribbean and being classified as a Systematically Important Financial Institution (SIFI), and are committed to continuing to be a role model for the credit union sector both regionally and internationally through our long-standing relations with the World Council of Credit Unions.

      The Group continues to be strong, stable and well capitalized, consistently achieving standards well above the levels set by the regulator. With total assets of approximately $1.7 billion as at March 31, 2022, we have grown in excess of 100% over the past 10 years, an achievement we are very proud of. During the past year the Group recorded asset growth of $96.0 million, a 6.1% increase over the previous year’s figures and, members’ deposits totaled approximately $1.5 billion as at March 31, 2022, representing growth of $78.8 million of 5.7%. We remain committed to continued growth through the provision of a diversified portfolio of products and services that meet our members’ needs.

      CAPITA Financial Services’ contribution to the Group results was positive over the past financial period with balance sheet growth of 6% as at March 31, 2022, and a 13% growth rate across all revenue lines for the same period. Profitability was also encouraging with an after-tax profit position of approximately $1.2 million.

      For additional information, I urge you to attend the Annual General Meeting (AGM) to be reconvened on Saturday January 14th at 9:00 a.m. and the Special General Meeting to be held on the same day at 1:00 p.m. If you were previously registered for the AGM of December 3rd, 2022 you do not have to register again – simply use your previous registration information to gain access. If you were not previously registered however, you will need to register in order to participate – the registration link is accessible via our website: https://publicworkers.bb/agm.html

      Yours sincerely

      Glyne Harrison

      Group Chief Executive Officer
      Barbados Public Workers’ Co-operative Credit Union Limited

  4. “The Central Bank of Barbados (CBB) and the Financial Services Commission (FSC) today confirmed that the Barbados Public Workers’ Cooperative Credit Union Limited Group of Companies is solvent and condemned social media posts that suggested that CAPITA Financial Services Inc. had collapsed.

    They warned that these alarmist statements could destabilise the financial system and encouraged individuals to be more responsible in their communications on such matters, whether to traditional media or social media outlets.” Jan 7, 2023 CBB website

    Isn’t this the crux?
    If you fail to get ahead of the messaging, it is 2023, and somebody else will.

  5. connecting the dots to see the bigger picture..
    it seems patrick king may lose his home and made bankrupt down the line

  6. it seems patrick king may lose his home and made bankrupt down the line
    Yet another example of how the credit union can be a public service

    • @Bush Tea

      One has to assume him claims have some substance? If not he will die poor. You f he has information that is contrary to what the regulators have stated then he good.

    • David
      Both King and the FSC should be sued by the Credit Union.

      Public Workers is no model organisation, but by brassbados standards, it is a beacon.
      Listening to Glyne Harrison on Brasstacks recently gave Bushie some hope that some glimmer of professionalism may yet exist in this place.

      Even if there are some issues that can be bettered, where does these ‘plantation-watchman’ types get off jumping into the fray swinging wildly at one of the few glimmers of light in this shiite place?

      The FSC in particular should be shamed!

      A set of entitled parasites, who have been installed as ‘plantation type’ watchmen over the movement – with the apparent aim of bringing it to its knees with onerous shiite regulations and procedures (under the guise of AML) that are designed to hamstring credit unions….. while government and big business BLATANTLY do as they damn well like.

      Have you EVER heard of them publicly going after any private or government entity for infractions?

      It took the damn US government to deal with a crooked minister of our government and FSC is YET to say one shiite about that matter.

      What have they said about the Vaccine scam?

      …or the North-South (or is it EastWest?) scam executed by a senior minister?

      Lotta shiite!! …and is the BB norm…

      Patrick king is just looking for attention….
      Bushie would convict him and fine him $10.00

    • @Bush Tee

      Part of the problem at credit unions in Barbados is that executive management must be allowed to do their jobs without the day to day interference from Board members. Also there needs to be wider participation coming from the membership.

  7. David
    on January 9, 2023 at 4:59 PM said:
    Rate This

    Click here to see a web copy of this email


    I personally want to reassure you of the soundness and financial status of the Barbados Public Workers’ Co-operative Credit Union Limited’s Group of Companies (The Group).


    Ah boy, we just need the GOB to step in and assure the public to keep investing.

    Shades of CLICO!!

  8. David
    on January 9, 2023 at 6:47 AM said:
    Rate This

    BPWCCU has key role
    CREDIT UNIONS, “the penny banks of Barbados”, are expected by their members to follow the high ground consistently. This is a longstanding unwritten but respected rule.


    The “penny bank” concept started in Trinidad in 1914.

    Cyril Lucius Duprey benefitted from the banking reforms in 1920 and went on to form the “Colonial Life Insurance Company”.


    It gained a foot hold in the Barbados in the 1930’s and 40’s.

    Collapsed in the early 1960’s with numerous Barbadians losing their shirts.

    George Lamming wrote about it!!

    Linked to family dynasties whose descendants are or were politicians in Barbados.

  9. John on July 9, 2019 at 11:33 AM said:
    Rate This

    September 16, 2017 11:41 AM

    When I was looking at Carrington Village in Professor Marshall’s book I saw it figures in the Penny Bank Saga.
    I always heard about it but never really looked at it in any detail.
    He writes:
    ” However, the mid-1940’s brought disruption to the life of a vibrant community where co-operative institutions like friendly societies, had thrived. George Lamming depicting “Creighton Village” in his autobiographal nove, In the Castle of my Skin, has vividly described that disruption.
    Land speculators in the shape of the Cooperative or Penny Bank bought the tenantry, offered the land for sale at rates most tenants could not afford, tripled the rent and evicted those who either fell into arrears with rental payments or were occupying spots for which purchasers presented themselves.
    Christine Barrow in her doctoral thesis has pointed to the direct results.. Over 80 percent of the residents moved their residences: only about 15% bought the spots on which they lived and remained resident on the; and the Penny Bank collapsed in 1962, some of those who had contracted to buy their spots faced huge difficulties in acquiring legal title to those house-spots.”
    Growing up I heard of some of the people, eg Stuart & Sampson was an old Roebuck Street(?) business.
    There is even an Ashby involved, possibly a descendant of RCA.
    I remember there was the “Ashby Medford” building in Roebuck Street just above ECAF.
    … and then there was Joe Tudor, another with ties to Roebuck Street.
    Where was Sir Grantley when all this was happening?
    … and Errol Barrow in 1962 when it collapsed.

    Reply ↓

  10. Just going by the three links posted at 5:42 a.m.

    Solvent or insolvent, the claims made by this one person could have created a run (people rushing to withdraw their money) and therefore do serious damage to the ‘organizations’ that were mentioned. If incorrect, the punishment must be severe.

    Who would benefit on the collapse of these organizations?

    • Many are naïve and do not understand how baseless accusations may do significant damage. It is all about likes and growing inflated online egos.

  11. @ David
    It would not even be so disgusting if they ALSO highlighted the lotta shiite being done DAILY by OTHER sectors of our society – from the very TOP down…

    But to giggle and snigger like little wimps at issues like the radical vaccines, the lotta shiite at the BWA, and at the VOLUMES of OFFICIAL accusations presented ANNUALLY by the Auditor General ….
    and THEN to come with fines, public accusations, and imposing ‘observers’ on a top Credit Union Board – is the damn FINAL Straw.

    Who are these FSC plantation yard boys anyway…?

    Damn Plantation Watchman crabs in a shiite barrel….

    Brassbowlery is the ONLY explanation for such self-destructive behavior…. and only a satanic CURSE can explain such folly.

    • Inserting a regular on the Board suggests on the surface there maybe concerns by the regulator. We will have to be vigilant.

    • You are the eternal optimist…!

      What it suggest to stinking Bushie is petty jealousy from losers, who envy other Black people who are managing more money than they could even imagine.
      Just like the old-time watchman putting a lash in a hungry little barefoot fella for trekking two corns from the massa field to roast…

      ..inserting that lash in the little donkey probably suggested concerns by the massa too….
      …requiring the necessary vigilance.

      Lotta shiite!
      Why the hell they don’t insert a ‘board observer’ in ICB to see who other ministers taking bribes?
      Or at BWA to vet those funny contracts?
      Or in a certain Ministry to understand how Steal houses are structured?
      Or to figure out Four Seasons and the Clear Water Scam that raided millions from the damn treasury?

      Interesting how you seem to want to suspect the Credit Union – when their RESULTS ALL indicate outstanding performance, ABOVE average financial accounting AND performance…
      AND a TOTALLY locally structure….
      not to mention a hundred thousand PLUS satisfied members who have put their money on the line as the sign of confidence.

      What would gain your confidence?
      Putting M.A. Malmoney to run Public workers?
      ….or perhaps the mock professor who managed Four Seasons?

      Poverty is a state of Mind.
      where one defines oneself as ‘worthless’ – EVEN when the results clearly demonstrate brilliance and regal lineage.

      This is why Bob the Prophet insisted on the emancipation of the MIND as a prerequisite for ANY kind of enfranchisement.

      Get with the program Boss…

    • @Bush Tea

      You have to admit the decision to deny entry to members who didn’t attend the first meeting was asinine. Did the regulator have to intervene you think?

    • True indeed.
      ANY ‘decision’ to deny entry to members at a General Meeting is not only asinine, ….but also illegal and ill-conceived.
      This was clearly a case of some inexperienced official thinking of the logistics of 10,000 members turning up on Saturday to fill the 2000 seats available… LOL

      Dat fuh lick dum!
      The problem with defining cooperative success as ‘size’ comes when the large numbers decide to exercise their democratic RIGHTS.

      Perhaps a cooperative should be limited to the numbers that can be adequately serviced, and then groups of these units can come together as secondary and tertiary level umbrella organisations.

      ‘One member one vote’ is key to cooperative success.

  12. Although the Credit Union Cooperative Banks is not going insolvent as alleged, it’s customers would be at the bottom of the totem pole in the list of creditors if it were, which was the case for the crypto currency exchanges like FTX that collapsed and the many Investment Banks during the 2008 GFR.

  13. John you know well that was a scam to rob Afrikan descants, who were extremely poor, all their money, the pennies they saved for their children and grands, and make sure they never own any land….,there are those still alive today who still talk about it…..

    information has it that 5 million was stolen, the properties, plantation lands were given so it could be subdivided, and the descents would have land and can vote for a white government,,.in those times you could not vote if you had no property…and minority scum did not want a black government so they got a traitor to hook them up..,the Afriikan population still wanted no white trash ruling them even after that..

    ..the scammers descents who ripped off all the money, are in the parliament today still scamming Afrikan descents, they too will soon get their just desserts just like the undereducated, ignorant and disrespectful…dont blink..soon come.

  14. I agree with TheO that this is a very serious matter that could have serious ramifications for members. It would be calamitous for regular and poor folk if there was a run.

    But is Patrick King the source of this “information”?

    Steupse! I cannot move on the word of one man of questionable reliability!

    My money is still on the credit union. There are no happy guarantees in life but one thing IS for sure – a run would guarantee the collapse.

    And the credit union is really our only hope!

    I will take the risk of staying calm and carrying on as usual and hope that others will refrain from panicking on the word of one attention-seeking source.

    But I will be there for the meeting, for sure. If this prompts greater alertness on the part of members then maybe some good can be salvaged from what may simply be a jackass bray.

  15. I suspect King Patrick’s fake news social media memes shenanigans manipulations will mean that the next meeting will be ram packed with media reporters and multitudes of mobs out of breath in a stressed out panic attack

  16. Sometimes you have to get inside the criminal minded to understand their motive means and opportunity to commit the dirty deed.

    “Patrick King” seems to be operating with the rather crude axiom of truth modus operandi that when you throw enough shit at the wall some of it is bound to stick eventually.
    Idiom explanation broken down
    If enough (perhaps false or reckless) accusations are made against a person (or organisation), their reputation will suffer, whether or not this is deserved.

  17. Team Bu should update the new version of the site with a daily traffic count summary

    Perhaps the “meeting” should be shown on Live TV or a Zoom meeting for all with voting rights to access. The purpose of these meetings is to vote various motions for action which does not need everyone to vote providing they are represented by proxies and they are happy with the result.

  18. I will be attending the meeting via zoom. Details for registration were in the Sunday Sun.

    Wow! I did not realise that some fool tried to deny members access! That person should be fired!

    • @Donna

      Not to go the Patrick King route but could this be the reason some members are concerned about governance at our largest credit union? The flawed decision making that would question a member being blocked from a meeting albeit one that was adjourned?

  19. David,

    Indeed, it would cause concern that somebody in a position such as that would be so lacking in rational thought.

    Even if the meeting was adjourned and this one is a continuation, it is the equivalent of somebody showing up late. Would a person showing up late be denied access?????

    Also, a smart person would realise what impression would be created by such an action.

    And that is not even taking into account the illegality of the action.

    This is why I say that the idiot should be fired. I prefer my money to be in the hands of persons who are capable of rational thought.

    • This is ridiculous, the petty squabbling in public. This credit union must do better, the members of this credit union must do better.

      Members: Venue too small
      By Maria Bradshaw
      Ahead of today’s much anticipated special general meeting of the Barbados Public Workers’ Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. (BPWCCUL), several members have expressed concern about the location, the format and the procedures for attending.
      A long-standing member told the Saturday Sun that the Frank Collymore Hall, the location for the meeting, was inadequate to hold the large numbers expected to turn up.
      “This is the largest credit union in Barbados with over 100 000 members and a meeting of this magnitude, where many persons are expected to turn up, cannot be accommodated at the Frank Collymore Hall,” she said, adding she believed many would be turned away.
      She also lamented that at the previous December 3 meeting, many members who were accommodated online experienced technical issues.
      “They sent out an email to members regarding the rules and the conduct . . . . They have told members that they can only participate in the same manner in which they did on December 3. Suppose my computer is not working; suppose I am not going to be at a location where I have access to a computer and it would be more convenient for me to attend in person? Management at the credit union should not be able to dictate how members choose to attend.”
      She added there were also a number of elderly members who were not computer-savvy
      and needed assistance when moving around.
      “Would they be denied an opportunity to attend because the person who assists them is not a member?” she asked.
      The BPWCCUL took out full-page advertisement yesterday pointing out that members who attended the December 3 meeting passed a motion that it be continued on January 14.
      “Other venues, including our traditional meeting locations, which have greater capacity for in-person attendance, were not available for this date,” it stated, adding that the Frank Collymore Hall was selected as the best possible location.
      The credit union has been in the spotlight for the past few weeks following its previous annual general meeting where it laid bare to its membership why it was late with its financial audit, which led to the payment of thousands of dollars in fines, and why there were changes in personnel at its subsidiary Capita Finance and also on the board.
      Since that meeting, the Financial Services Commission has appointed a financial advisor to sit on the board of the BPWCCUL.
      The credit union’s affairs have also dominated popular radio call-in programme Down To Brass Tacks for the past three weeks, with members calling for more transparency in its operations, and some also demanding to know how much money members were paid for sitting on the various committees.
      Today, in another paid advertisement ( See Page 7), this time from a group of “concerned members”, 20 questions are being fired at the BPWCCUL. Among them are:

      Is it true that the request for extension by BPWCCUL was as a result of the fact that BPWCCUL’s audit and the consolidated audit were not completed by PWC within the time frame set by its regulator as a result of the board of directors of BPWCCUL failing to appoint PWC until March 12, 2022, and onboarding them at April 14, 2022, some 14 days after the financial year 2021/2022 had ended?

      Is it true that directors of BPWCCUL receive $1 000 per month and its president $1 100 for being on the board of directors, whether they attend meetings or not?

      Given that the maximum directors for the board of CAPITA is nine, is it not true that if all nine positions were filled, and if all nine attended the board meetings between November 2022 and December 2022, the total amount payable by CAPITA to its directors would be $33 200?

      Is it true that the directors of the subsidiary companies of BPWCCUL, of which CAPITA forms a part, receive $900 per meeting while the chairman gets $1 000 per meeting?

      Is it true that during the period November 10, 2022, to December 29, 2022, the board of CAPITA met at least four times? If so, is it not true that each director would have received $3 600?

      Source: Nation

  20. David,

    I agree. They had better get a handle on this or de dog dead!

    Most people (including myself) are not aware of normal rates for directors fees and these allegations would blow their minds.

    But I am more interested in whether or not the directors are worth the money.

    How is Capita doing?

    This is serious business. One hundred thousand members!

    • @Donna

      Fees would have been voted for by members. The fact many were not aware speaks to lack of participation by members.

      Capita Financial seems to be having problems with quality of HR and management. Again an indictment on the quality of management at BPW and lack of vigilance by the FSC.

  21. Do organisations openly admit they are struggling with problems and difficulties, or do spin news to cover them up


  22. What is this business of the FSC ‘vetting’ persons for eligibility to sit on the credit union’s committees?
    Does this not effectively mean that they must take responsibility for the quality and the eventual performance of these persons?
    These regulatory agencies seem to have the power to make organizational decisions and then to sit back as judge and jury when the fan is impacted.
    If members are not free to select directors as they see fit for their own money then it is no wonder that so many are pissed now…

  23. @January 14, 2023 at 6:07 AM
    Disgraceful behavior on the part of the credit union. It is this type of behavior that spawns and fuels rumors.

    Interesting that in this day and age where the ‘internet’ has provided greater access to meetings, those in Barbados would develop ways to limit and control this access.

    To enforce many of the technical restrictions, the credit union would have the capability to track/monitor e-attendance. Here we that technical expertise is being used to restrict the flow of information rather than increase it. It is this type of behavior that give rise to rumors.

  24. “This is ridiculous, the petty squabbling in public.”

    Nay! Nay! Nay!
    What I see here is an organization that is determined to keep matters close to its chest and have a large portion of it members uninformed. Whilst I understand the need for confidentiality in some matters, it is in the interest of the members and of the corporation to have the public informed on some matters.

    Yes, all matters are not confidential and increase transparency may benefit the organization. The days of a select few knowing everything and the remainder of the body being ignorant are (should be) over.

    • Credit cards stopped
      Credit union bans board members from their usage as they seek transparency
      by BARRY ALLEYNE barryalleyne@nationnews.com
      THE BARBADOS PUBLIC WORKERS’ CO-OPERATIVE CREDIT UNION LIMITED (BPWCCUL), in a move aimed at improving its financial position and lowering the risk of any impropriety, has cancelled the use of credit cards by its board members.
      The decision was made on Saturday during a contentious reconvened annual general meeting (AGM) held at the Frank Collymore Hall in Bridgetown.
      Group chief executive officer Glyne Harrison is convinced the move will make the credit union more transparent going forward.
      Effective immediately, instead of the credit cards, a charge account with a maximum limit will be created for business spending.
      Should the board of directors want to reinstate the credit cards, this can only be done with a twothirds majority vote of members at the AGM.
      In best interest
      “The decisions we made were in the best interest of governance, after discussions between the board and membership. The organisation will implement them and move forward to enhance the overall running of the group of companies,” Harrison told the DAILY NATION yesterday.
      Also on Saturday at the same location, a special meeting regarding BPWCCUL subsidiary, CAPITA Financial Services, was held, where
      the financials of that company were also discussed.
      “Members got better insight into the running of the operations of CAPITA Financial, and were able to have some of their concerns alleviated. Management will continue to work with members to make sure there is more transparency and they are more comfortable with the operation, as we move forward in a space defined by trust and collaboration,” Harrison said.
      ‘Admirable performance’
      Members were told that despite the economic turmoil, their credit union performed admirably, recording strong business growth in a challenging environment.
      Asset growth was recorded at $96 million, a 6.1 per cent increase, which resulted in total assets of $1.673 billion recorded as at March 31 last year.
      Part 1 of the AGM was held last December 3, but the agenda was incomplete and members reconvened on Saturday.
      The credit union had been in the spotlight following the previous meeting, where membership was informed of reasons for the tardiness in tabling a financial audit which led to thousands of dollars in fines, and what led to changes in personnel at CAPITA Financial.
      At Saturday’s meeting, senior management was kept busy all day answering hard questions about the credit union. It also saw several motions being passed, after it was disclosed that there were ongoing internal concerns over the spending and use of the company’s credit cards.
      One was that any staffer who could not justify their spending, be ordered to pay back what was overspent.

      Source: Nation

    • FSC sets out new guides
      THE FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMISSION (FSC) wants non-bank financial institutions it regulates to ensure that their board members are competent, ethical and independent.
      The statutory body also wants directors of these entities, including credit unions, insurance firms, pension plans and securities companies, to “refrain from serving on multiple boards simultaneously such that it interferes with the performance of their duties on behalf of the financial institution”.
      In a new corporate governance guideline introduced to replace others issued nearly ten years ago, the FSC also said the roles of chief executive officers (CEOs) and board chairs should be separate, stressing the importance of having independent directors.
      In announcing the new 26-page corporate governance guideline dated January 3, 2023, FSC chairman Oliver Jordan said financial institutions were required to strengthen their corporate governance measures.
      The guideline is applicable to all financial institutions registered and/or licensed under the Financial Services Commission Act, 2010.
      The FSC said that boards “must set the ‘tone at the top’ by setting and adhering to professional standards and corporate values that promote integrity for itself, senior management and other employees. [They] must also establish standards of business conduct and a formal code of ethics for directors, senior management and other personnel of the financial institution”.
      It expected the standards of business conduct to “include comprehensive and adequate policies and procedures that are fair and address conflicts of interest, lending to directors, officers and employees, other forms of self-dealing, and preferential treatment to connected parties and other related entities”.
      The FSC added that boards “must oversee and approve how, and by whom, legitimate material concerns of misconduct should be investigated and addressed; whether by an objective independent internal or external body, senior management and/ or the board itself.
      “The board must hold members of senior management accountable for their actions and enumerate the possible consequences (up to and including dismissal) if those actions do not align with the board’s performance and behavioural expectations. The board must continually review the internal structure of the financial institution to ensure there are clear lines of accountability throughout the organisation,” the FSC guideline stated.
      “In order to carry out its mandate, the board of directors of a financial institution must be appropriately structured and composed, having a suitable balance of independence, diversity of thought and background to enable it to make decisions in the best interest of the institution.”
      The regulator also wants at least one-third of directors serving on the boards of financial institutions to be independent, meaning that had “no direct or indirect material relationship with the financial institution other than membership on the board”.
      “The board of a financial institution must comprise individuals bearing the personal and professional competencies necessary to carry out the objectives of the board in an ethical and robust manner. Individual board members are expected to facilitate communication, collaboration and critical debate to enhance decision-making processes,” the FSC said.
      In recommending that individuals not serve on multiple boards simultaneously, the Commission said board members “must be required to disclose other board memberships and related time commitments associated with those memberships, as well as other work undertaken on behalf of any other board”.
      The FSC also said in its guideline that financial institutions “should ensure there is a clear division of responsibilities between the oversight functions and leadership of the board, and the executive role of senior management. [The] board must be able to exercise objective and independent judgement, free from undue influence of senior management, majority shareholders and any other party in a position to exert significant influence over the board decision-making”.
      It added: “The roles of CEO and board chair should be separate. This enhances the independence and objectivity of the board and helps to achieve an appropriate balance of power, increasing accountability and improving the board’s capacity for decision-making independent of management.
      “Where the board chair is not independent, the financial institution should appoint a lead independent director to improve the balance of power and enhance the independence of the board.”

      Source: Nation

    • Accountability key for credit unions
      A CREDIT UNION is a group of people connected by a common bond and people who save together and lend to each other at a reasonable rate of interest. The members have control over finances and make their finances work for them.
      The BPWCCUL (Barbados Public Workers Cooperative Credit Union Limited ) was registered in 1970 and reregistered with its current name in 1970. The credit union has experienced significant growth in its asset base which increased from $907 million in 2012 to $1 932 million in 2022, quite a significant achievement for any financial institution with 107 506 members on March 31, 2022.
      Size also carries other economic and regulatory consequences and on May 6, 2022, the Central Bank of Barbados designated the credit union as a “systemically important financial institution” and it came under the joint regulation of the Central Bank and the Financial Services Commission (FSC), thereby creating an enhanced level of regulation and oversight which should provide members with an additional level of comfort.
      Credit unions are major deposit-taking institutions and rely on public trust for continued operations and such trust coupled with due diligence and a regulatory framework provides enhanced confidence to depositors and members at large.
      The challenge of such trust should be supported with statistics and raw data which lead to logical conclusions rather than solicitation of data through mischievous questions and circulation of alternative facts in social media. (The Central Bank and FSC should be commended for their prompt and joint response). Such attempts to undermine indigenous institutions should not be encouraged.
      Currently, credit unions are the only indigenous financial institutions in Barbados and there are cries for an indigenous bank to support the local business sector, our only hope lies in these credit unions. Maybe the day is not too far when Capita Financial Services can transition to a merchant bank or other bank in a similar fashion as Consolidated Finance transitioned to Ansa Merchant Bank.
      In the area of fees paid to directors, it would be prudent to compare fees paid to members of statutory boards, governmentowned or controlled corporations and entities, local financial institutions, and entities of comparative size relative to their industry. After such data is collated and analysed, people can make an informed judgement as to the reasonableness or otherwise of the fees paid to directors. In relation to directors’ fees, the SUNDAY SUN of January 15, 2023, stated that the retainer fees for the chairman and non-executive directors of Goddards Enterprises Limited were $32 000 and $16 000 respectively per annum plus additional
      fees for attending board, committee and joint venture meetings.
      These fees were fixed in 2016 and will be revisited at the January 2023 meeting of shareholders.
      Notwithstanding the above, the credit union should ensure that it has skilled professional staff, a sound system of internal control, a robust due diligence environment and implementation of enhanced monitoring of its subsidiaries and set the fees for elected officers at the annual general meeting.
      Such measures would undoubtedly strengthen the members’ perception of the credit union and provide additional safety, security and soundness.
      Servitude should be relegated to oblivion rather than clouding our vision of the future. Our common bond should be cohesive rather than divisive. There is strength in unity and as Mattie Stepanek wrote: “Unity is strength . . . when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved”. We should move forward with the confidence that our credit union can continue to grow and achieve wonderful things in the foreseeable future.

      – MICHAEL D. CARRINGTON, former employee and past president of BPWCCUL

      Source: Nation Newspaper

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