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First Heritage promises to revolutionise credit union market

Published:Friday | August 3, 2012 | 12:00 AM

The new First Heritage Co-operative Credit Union (FHC) launched Thursday with an announcement that it plans to establish a venture capital fund.

FHC, which was created out of the merger of Churches and GSB credit unions, boasts a membership base of more than 165,000 and total assets of J$8.04 billion.

"The two credit unions were growing and progressing, but we decided that if we synergise and share the symbiotic relationship that we have then we would build a much stronger institution," said Basil Naar, chief executive officer of FHC.

Venture capital

Naar said FHC will now be the forerunner of the credit union movement, paving the way for a venture capital fund.

"We will now lead the change to revolutionise the credit union sector as we challenge the normal historic expectations of the credit union movement and we dear to go into uncharted waters," said Naar, who was formerly the general manager of Churches. Courtney Lodge, who was the head of GSB, will be his deputy.

"We will be the first credit union to open a capital venture fund system to assist small and micro entrepreneurs in starting businesses, we plan to put in the construct to begin the venture capital fund where the credit union will be an investor in the business of the member and in time we can go through the normal mechanism of initial public offering; but we are going to take a permanent position and assist the member because nation building is something which is foremost in our mind," said Naar.

FHC will offer a comprehensive range of some 38 products, including fixed deposits, micro and small loans, salary advance loans, mortgages, pension, cambio services and other investments.

"CCCU and GSB have sought to provide benefits for all involved in the merger and will seek to maximise the productivity of the new entity, while limiting the impact on staff and customers," said Naar.