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NWC and C&WJ credit unions merge

Published:Sunday | October 9, 2016 | 10:00 AMTameka Gordon
Herbert Duval, general manager of the NWC Co-operative Credit Union.

The National Water Commission Co-operative Credit Union (NWCCCUL) and the Community and Workers of Jamaica Co-operative Credit Union (C&WJCCUL) have merged to become a $10-billion operation and the second-largest credit union.

The Jamaica Teachers' Association Co-operative Credit Union remains the largest by assets.

The merger took effect on October 1 and gives C&WJCCUL a foothold in the water services sector.

"We have been considering this for about five years based on the new regulations of the central bank," general manager of NWCCCUL Herbert Duval told Gleaner Business.

Duval said that with the NWCCCUL as the smaller of the entities by assets and member base, the company was forced to consider a merger to stay afloat, given the dynamics in the market.

"With the competition in the market and with these other unregulated institutions and the unsecured ceiling that was put on credit unions, it made it a little bit more difficult for us to compete," he said.

The NWCCCUL also only served persons in the water services industry, given its cooperative society bond, which also meant a smaller market than the larger C&WJCCU, which serves the telecoms, agriculture and bauxite industries, among others.

"The type of liquidity that we wanted to gather, within our little group, it's difficult for them to save that type of money, so we decided to join a larger group," said Duval.

 

PERFECT FIT

 

The C&WJCCUL's structure and network made the deal a perfect fit, the general manager said.

The merger will see the assets and liabilities of the NWCCCUL transferred to C&WJCCUL. The merged body has assets of $10.5 billion and membership of around 78,000 drawn from the tourism, telecoms, agriculture, bauxite, shipping and water resource sectors.

"They will be able to give larger loans that our cash flow couldn't handle at this point," Duval said. "It has made us more competitive."

The NWCCCUL's Mandeville and Montego Bay branches have been closed, since the larger partner in the merger already operates branches in those locations. Its Port Maria, St Mary, Eureka Road and Marescaux Road, Kingston branches have been rebranded C&WJCCUL.

With the merger, the credit union now has 18 branches spread islandwide.

"The merger represents another bold move by credit unions in Jamaica to make their operations more efficient with the primary objective of improving the value of the credit unions to their members," the companies said in a media advertisement.

C&WJCCUL has retained "quite a bit of our products and the arrangement is that they will continue with the products that we have so our members will not lose anything", said Duval.

Fourteen different loan products are now available to members.

tameka.gordon@gleanerjm.com