Wed | Nov 14, 2018

C&WJ Co-operative Credit Union expands with merger

Published:Wednesday | September 12, 2018 | 12:00 AMMark Titus/Gleaner Writer
From left: Fitz Rowe, former general manager of the St Elizabeth Cooperative Credit Union; Pete Smith, board chair of C&WJ; Norma Neil, former board chair of St Elizabeth Co-op Credit Union, and C&WJ CEO Carlton Barclay following the unveiling of the C&WJ name and logo at the official opening of the five St Elizabeth branches of C&WJ recently.

Community and Workers of Jamaica (C&WJ) Co-operative Credit Union last Wednesday became the largest credit union operating locally after the official merger with the St Elizabeth Co-operative Credit Union (STECCU) operations in Santa Cruz.

C&WJ now shows a 90,000-strong membership and 22 branches in Kingston and St Andrew, Clarendon, Manchester, St Ann, St Mary, St James, and St Elizabeth, with assets valued at more than $15 billion.

"As chairman of the board, I am thrilled about the future and undaunted about the new challenges that we will face in this soon-to-come new regulatory environment as I am convinced that it will also come with good growth opportunities," said chairman of the board Pete Smith in his greetings at the official opening of the five new C&WJ branches in St Elizabeth yesterday.

"I am confident that we will be successful in making the residents of St Elizabeth and its surroundings [happy as] their financial service provider of choice, backed by solid and leading technology and innovation to unlock further growth opportunities."

 

THE WORK IS JUST BEGINNING

 

The merger strengthens the ability of C&WJ Credit Union to expand its offerings and branch network, with the southern belt of Jamaica showing the potential for even further growth.

"We have a standard that we have established ... . Our customers have rated us with a 98 per cent satisfaction rating," C&WJ CEO Carlton Barclay said.

"We intend to keep that promise and to maintain it here in St Elizabeth, so it is a new day, but the work is just beginning. So I want to encourage all members of staff of C&WJ that it is very important for all of us to recognise that our responsibility is to provide value to the membership."

 

FURTHER CONSOLIDATION

 

Fionna Reynolds, monitoring and risk assessment manager of the Jamaica Co-operative Credit Union League, the national association of credit unions, in endorsing the merger, said there is an anticipation of further consolidation in the credit-union movement, especially under the current business environment in which financial institutions are required to operate.

"Those changes are real, and for us to effectively serve our members, credit unions are going to have to look at better strategies and economies of scale," she said.

"At the end of the day, I know that this partnership was forged with the best interest of the members in mind, and being bigger and stronger will enable that mission to be accomplished."

COK Sodality Co-operative Credit Union is now the second-largest credit union in Jamaica, with assets valued at $7.3 billion, but remains on top with approximately 245,000 members at locations in four parishes.