C&WJ Credit Union set to become largest credit union
Community and Workers of Jamaica (C&WJ) Co-operative Credit Union is set to become the largest credit union in Jamaica by assets with the soon-to-be-announced merger with the St Elizabeth Co-operative Credit Union (STECCU).
Chief Executive Officer of C&WJ Co-operative Credit Union Carlton Barclay told The Gleaner that the financial entity is in growth mode and that the merger with STECCU would allow it to fill a gap that existed in the southwestern section of the island.
"In terms of serving the membership between Westmoreland and Manchester, there was a gap," he said in explaining the rationale for the merger with STECCU.
The merger is to be announced on Monday.
After the merger, C&WJ Co-operative Credit Union will have more than $15 billion in assets under management.
All STECCU branches will display the C&WJ Co-operative Credit Union name and logo as of September 1.
C&WJ Co-operative Credit Union has almost 90,000 members spread across 17 branches in Kingston and St Andrew, Clarendon, Manchester, St Ann, St Mary and St James.
COK Sodality Co-operative Credit Union, which, prior to the merger of C&WJ and STECCU, was the country's largest credit union, manages assets of $7.3 billion and savings amounting to $6.2 billion. It has branches in Kingston and St Andrew, Manchester, and St James and has a membership of approximately 245,000 members.
Barclay said that mergers represented the best option for C&WJ Credit Union to expand its product offerings and branch network across the island while strengthening its asset base to allow it to remain in the market and compete with the larger financial institutions, as well as micro-loan outfits.
"We are a very small institution, and for us to become more efficient, more effective, and compete, it's important for us to grow, but grow efficiently. If we don't grow, we can't introduce the systems that the Bank of Jamaica requires of financial institutions," Barclay explained.