The Jamaica Teachers' Association Co-operative Credit Union (JTACCU), which has one of the smallest memberships of more than 30,000 among local credit unions, retains pole position in the sector with the largest asset base.
JTACCU assets are valued at J$9.12 billion at June 2012, or J$1.86 billion more than COK Sodality's, which was once touted as number one.
The JTACCU also outdistances the recently merged First Heritage - formed from the merger of Churches Co-operative Credit Union and GSB Credit Union which previously served professional groups inclusive of the government service.
The Jamaica Co-operative Credit Union League (JCCUL) counts Churches and GSB separately on its list of Top 10 as at June, with assets of J$4.88 billion and J$3.25 billion, respectively.
Their merger, which happened post quarter, effectively puts First Heritage at second place with a combined J$8.14 billion, and pushes COK Sodality into third place with J$7.25 billion.
Others in the top 10 are C&WJ, Jamaica Police, First Regional, Manchester, JPS and Montego credit unions.
The JTACCU, which is run by Barbara Gascoigne, grew by 19 per cent relative to December 2011.
COK Sodality remains the top credit union in membership, at 213,000, according to JCCUL data. The entire sector, comprising more than 40 credit unions, has 900,000 members and is valued at J$56.5 billion by assets, of which loans amount to J$36.2 billion.
The top 10 at June 2012 accounted for J$43.4 billion of total assets or 77 per cent of the industry.
Jamaicans currently save about J$44 billion with credit unions, which are essentially small community-based lending institutions.
The sector is currently overseen by the Registrar of Cooperative Societies but will eventually fall under the ambit of the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) once there is agreement on the parameters under which the central bank does its policing.
The parties are hammering out their differences over newly proposed stipulations for reserve requirements, which the credit unions say will limit available funds to lend and hike their operating costs; and the proposed 10 per cent cap on unsecured loans.
Regarding the unsecured loans cap, CEO of First Heritage Co-operative Basil Naar argues that the sector has more than proven its risk-taking credentials over decades and ought not to be so hamstrung.
"Credit unions have proven they can make unsecured loans successfully since 1937. We have mastered the art," Naar said.
He also weighed in on the ban on foreign-exchange services, saying it denies the sector a share of the lucrative market.
"While we have management which is equal to any other in financial sector, we are disallowed from offering foreign currency accounts. The fastest-growing deposit category is currently foreign currency deposits. Members are going to commercial banks when they want to remain with us," said Naar.
"The BOJ regulations are a good means of taking us into a family of institutions, but these are three areas which need to be dealt with," he said.
Industry sources say an agreement is now expected by yearend out of ongoing talks between JCCUL, BOJ and Ministry of Finance.
Top 10 credit unions
Assets at June 2012
COK Sodality J$7.254b
Jamaica Police J$3.443b
First Regional J$2.895b
Churches and GSB subsequently merged to form First Heritage