The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. (PCCU) formally opened a branch in Bequia last Saturday, August 8, with the aim of better serving its members, increasing its membership and expanding its share of the market.
With an office located within the compound of the Port Elizabeth Police Station, and opening in the first instance three days a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 8;30am to 4:00pm, the intention is to have the office fully operational in the shortest possible time, Ayanna Samuel, Manager of PCCU assured when addressing the opening ceremony.
Samuel it was who shared that the PCCU has had consistent growth since first “opening its doors” on January 16, 2003 (17 years ago), and currently holds assets to a value of EC$19.5 million, a loan portfolio of EC$12.4 million, and savings of EC$12.2 million.
This is accounted for by a membership of 2159 persons, with Bequia representing a significant portion of this figure, who avail themselves of services inclusive of share accounts, deposit/saving accounts, death benefit accounts and loans.
Samuel, in recognizing the opening of the Bequia branch as another milestone in the short history of the PCCU, referenced an earlier milestone, i.e. being the “youngest credit union” to have acquired its own headquarters on Bay Street, Kingstown, in 2017.
Horace Williams President of PCCU in his address, described the Bequia branch as an outstanding step forward for the PCCU, as it recognized the larger picture of expanding financial access and opportunity for people and places that need it most.
“It’s a story about expanding opportunity and sharing prosperity. It’s a story about people investing in their own communities to build something better and stronger, and most of all, it is a story about people helping people to achieve something greater by working together in partnership,” Williams posited.
“This is one of our initiatives to ensure the long term survival of this credit union,” he added, and invited the residents of Bequia to join the PCCU family.
Herman Belmar, Deputy Director of Grenadines Affairs, welcomed the credit union. He deduced that with four fully functional and registered credit unions now based on Bequia, the island is indeed fertile soil for the growth and development for the co-operatives.
Belmar noted that there are many benefits that can be derived from joining a credit union, especially as the banks are making it difficult for ordinary persons to access their services. “The credit union is picking up the slack and offering full-fledged benefits just the same as the bank,” he said.
Dr. Godwin Friday, Member of Parliament for Northern Grenadines, in his address, said, inter alia, “This comes at a time when commercial banks here in St Vincent are actually refusing to open new accounts because of too much liquidity or because there are not sufficient businesses that are borrowing the money, to be able to pay the interest on these accounts.”
And while he recognized that the credit union subsector seemed to be thriving as per the credit unions now having offices in Bequia, his expectation was that, “The credit union meets the need of the community and the entire country. Not just to buy a nice car or to fix up the roof on the house… all those are essential things. But we need to invest in productive activities that also create more dynamism in the economy, create jobs and create the basis for growth going forward.”
When the PCCU was formed some 17 years ago, its membership was restricted to persons enlisted in the Royal SVG Police Force. Its membership today is open to the general public.
Source : The Vincentian