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Credit unions urged to embrace digital age
Credit unions have to embrace the digital age and find ways to provide services to members through more economical and efficient means, Group Chief Executive Officer, Eastern Credit Union (ECU), Conrad Enill said yesterday.
He said the official re-dedication of the administrative floor at ECU headquarters, La Joya, St Joseph, was part of a commitment to provide better quality service and improve the lives of clients.
Enill said ECU had been at the forefront of looking after the financial affairs of clients “with care and good governance so that our members can continue to have a credible alternative to other sources of financing.”
“There is no doubt that our society and indeed our world, is rapidly changing and many do not know how to respond or how to navigate this new level of disruption,” he added.
He said the ECU’s solution to disruption is collaboration and co-operation: “Our disruption today is as a result of the impacts of an unresponsive economy, heavy debt loads, rising interest and unemployment rates, new and changing laws and regulations and the new reality of many of our citizens not being able to access the local financial system.”
Noting that the current situation is reminiscent of what existed in the 1940’s when formal financial institutions did not cater to the needs of ordinary people, he warned that hardships could be created for ordinary people “unless someone intervenes.”
“Thankfully we have institutions that have intervened and are intervening, they are called credit unions,” Enill said.
“Informal financial institutions such as credit unions emerged to serve the ordinary man by providing simpler procedures, minimal collateral requirements and lower transaction costs.
“Today, we have the same benefits but we observe all the rules that have been created by regulatory authorities. We have advocated for some time, don’t regulate what we do, but regulate how we do it.”
Kester Regis, ECU’s Group Executive Manager, Marketing, Research and Business Development, said the organisation operates under the seven global co-operative principles set by the World Council of Credit Unions.
ECU is the only credit union regulated by both the Co-operative Development Division of the Ministry of Labour and Micro Enterprise and the Central Bank, he said.
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