Credit union merger to fill southwest Ja gap - CEO
Starting today, Community and Workers of Jamaica (C&WJ) Co-operative Credit Union is set to become the largest credit union in Jamaica by assets with a 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 will 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.
$15 billion in assets
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 3.
C&WJ Co-operative Credit Union presently has almost 90,000 members spread across 18 branches in Kingston and St Andrew, Clarendon, Manchester, St Ann, St Mary and St James and Westmoreland.
Barclay said 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, [and] more effective and compete it's important for us to grow ... efficiently. If we don't grow, we can't introduce the systems that the Bank of Jamaica requires of financial institutions such as ours," the C&WJ CEO explained.
Barclay said the merger would also allow the credit union to provide members with all the conveniences of modern banking, as well as improved product offerings. C&WJ offers membership to residents of communities and workers of any entity that uses telecom-munication equipment.
"If you are going to be offering good value to the membership, you also have to be of a certain size (because) they want instant access, mobile banking, and all the products that you can get from some of the larger financial institutions," he reasoned.