The umbrella Jamaica Co-operative Credit Union League has tapped one of its top strategists, Heston Hutton, to head up a new subsidiary set up to provide professional services to its credit-union members.
The league is also testing out a new business model - one that appears to position the agency as a service provider to the movement.
Jamaica's credit-union operations are currently approved by the Registrar of Cooperative Societies but JCCUL has long been the focal point of the movement as its chief lobby and de facto overseer.
Soon, the credit unions — which are essentially member-driven community banks in which accountholders are owners of the institution — will be regulated by Bank of Jamaica as deposit-taking institutions.
As the switchover approaches, JCCUL has been redefining its own role but the group has declined to discuss its new status, saying it is planning a future press conference to explain its new structure.
JCCUL has created three subsidiaries: Centralised Strategic Services Limited (CSS), a limited liability company established in June 2011; The Credit Union Fund Management Company (CUFMC), which received its licence to operate as a securities dealership in 2009; and QNET, a provider of technological support to the group.
Heston, who was assistant general manager for strategic development and planning at JCCUL, has been appointed managing director of CSS.
JCCUL's shared services arm "has been set up to support businesses in Jamaica and across the Caribbean in an effort to reduce their operational costs and increase profit margins," said Hutton in a release announcing his appointment.
Jamaica's credit union movement serves approximately one million members across 40 institutions.
Hutton has been credited with leading the implementation of various technology-driven innovations, including Internet and mobile banking with the latter delayed by a central bank review of the product known as JCUES.