Gateway Co-operative Credit Union to open new branch in Falmouth
The financial landscape in Trelawny is now poised for further growth as come February 1, Gateway Co-operative Credit Union (GCCU) will be opening a new branch at 2-4 Duke Street in Falmouth, the parish capital.
Ornel Bedasse, the manager of the GCCU, told The Gleaner that in addition to offering residents of Trelawny a new avenue for financing, it will create an opportunity for the financial entity to keep workers instead of laying them off.
“We are bringing to Trelawny another opportunity for residents to look at their financial arrangements and make a choice. In this COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no new employment opportunities, so it gives us an opportunity to deploy staff rather than to lay off,” said Bedasse.
Gateway evolved from the 2017 merger of the Montego Bay Co-operative Credit Union and Hanover Co-operative Credit Union. Gateway currently enjoys an asset base of $9 billion and membership of 69,000.
Interestingly, an attempt was also made to have the Trelawny Co-operative Credit Union as part of the merger deal, but that offer was rejected by its 2,917 members. Bedasse said the merger and attempt to merge received permission from the regulator of the Department of Co-operative and Friendly Societies.
Competitive Financial Landscape
“You will see us competing with other financial institutions. Our products and services are in the main the same, so Gateway will have to make the financial landscape more competitive,” said Bedasse.
“The plan is to give special focus to people who are in small business operations. Not many see farmers and craft vendors as business people, but they will be among the sector to come in for special attention. When they grow, we grow also,” added Bedasse.
The Trelawny Cooperative Credit Union is seemingly unperturbed by the expected competition and is planning to meet it head on.
“It can only be good for the residents. The competition will help us to sharpen our activities and benefit our members more,” said Reverend Dr Vincent Fletcher, a past president of the Trelawny Cooperative Credit Union, who had vigorously opposed the merger offer.“The competition may be good for us. We will still have our credit union. The arrival of Gateway may inspire our people to do better,” said Fletcher.
Dave Vassell, a long-time member of Trelawny Co-operative Credit Union, said the GCCU’s move to Falmouth could prove to be a good thing, but it depends on how they carry out their operations.
“It is all about management. If they manage properly, they will succeed. If not, failure will be their result,” he said.