Minister with responsibility for Cooperatives, Senator Adrian Thomas has identified the Credit Union sector as an important pillar in the attainment of the new Congress government’s transformational agenda.
The minister outlined the policy of the Dickon Mitchell-led administration in a message broadcast on the Government Information Service (GIS) on Monday, three (3) days ahead of the 75th International Credit Union Day on Thursday.
“Our policy is to work with and build strategic alliances with the credit union sector, to strengthen existing cooperatives, encourage the formation of new cooperatives, and to work towards fulfilling our vision – a sustainable equitable and prosperous Grenada for all,” Sen. Thomas said as he acknowledged the many contributions that the movement has made to national development over the years.
While the Credit union movement can pride itself in investments in all aspects of the country’s national development, Minister Thomas highlighted those made in “our youth through the provision of education grants and scholarships, donations to organisations that support youth development, the sponsorship of sporting and cultural activities, community projects, clubs and events.”
These, he said “have contributed to the empowerment of not only credit union members but the youth and aspiring leaders of this nation.”
According to Minister Thomas, the new government “looks forward to the forging of a strategic partnership (with credit unions) to better the lives of all our citizens but particularly our young people through investments in the digital and creative economies, ICT agriculture and agribusiness.”
Unlike commercial banks and other financial institutions, Credit Unions, which are regulated in accordance with the Cooperative Societies Act No 8/2011, are not-for-profit member-based financial institutions established to provide financial guidance, direction, and assistance aimed at enriching members’ lives by creating sustainable living through channeling and pulling of members resources to assist each other.
The concept of credit unions is based on the philosophy of “people helping people” and serves as not-for-profit organisations.
Credit unions evolved out of the growing need to help the less privileged in society by providing financial assistance and resources that otherwise would not have been made available to members.
There are ten (10) registered and functioning credit unions and one (1) cooperative league, operating in Grenada – Ariza Credit Union Ltd., Grenada Union of Teachers Cooperative Credit Union Ltd., Communal Cooperative Credit Union Ltd., Grenville Cooperative Credit Union Ltd., River Sallee Cooperative Credit Union Ltd., Birchgrove Cooperative Credit Union Ltd., Hermitage Cooperative Credit Union Ltd., Geo. F. Huggins Employees Cooperative Credit Union Ltd., TAWU Cooperative Credit Union Ltd., and Gateway Cooperative Credit Union Ltd.
As of June 30, the registered credit unions have combined assets of $1.2bn, total loans of $878 million, total deposits of $1bn, and 82, 000 membership accounts.
“This is a remarkable feat,” Minister Thomas said as he congratulated the movement on the “tremendous growth experienced over the years” and for being “instrumental in transforming and uplifting the lives of many of our citizens.”
The Grenada Co-operative League Ltd., (GCLL), which was established in 1958 serves as the apex body for the co-operatives sector, which consists of Credit Unions and non-financial co-operatives.
Since 1948, International Credit Union Day has been celebrated on the third Thursday in October.
This year, the GCLL and the Grenada Credit Unions brand hosted the annual International Credit Union Day celebrations under the theme: “Empower your financial future with a credit union,” on Thursday with the usual march-past from the Ariza Car Park to the Grenada National Stadium Car Park, for the first time following a two-year hiatus as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.