Press Releases

International Credit Union Day 2023: President's Message

Credit unions’ contribution immeasurable

On this the 75th anniversary of International Credit Union (ICU) Day, credit unions in Barbados have collectively taken stock of the monumental role they continue to play in the development of this country and the steady advancement of its 220,000 members.

Around the world, members of this august movement use this day to acknowledge and reflect on our shared experiences, with the ultimate goal of bringing greater awareness to our tremendous work.

We celebrate the doggedness of our early founders in the 1940s, who recognised the wisdom of pooling their small, individual resources, and through cooperation created the conditions that allowed all boats to be lifted with the tide.

It is important to note that our first credit union, the Shamrock Savings Union, emerged just one decade after the unrest of the 1937 riots, when the masses of poor Barbadians determined the dire social and economic conditions had to change.

We have come a long way. Our movement has remained steadfast in its goal of improving the lives of members, assisting them in achieving important milestones that matter to them and their families. These include the acquisition of land and homes, advancing their education, building their financial nest egg and generational wealth, while also creating a stable and solid foundation for average households across the island to thrive.

The growth of our credit unions has also aligned with the expansion of the country’s micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). This has come through financing and collaborations with the sector.
Since our first credit union opened its doors in 1947 and the establishment of the Barbados Co-operative & Credit Union League (BCCULL) two years later in 1949, the movement boast some $3 billion in deposits.

This not only represents a massive show of confidence in the credit union sector, but assurance in the experience and expertise of its leadership, the regulatory processes and credibility of fellow credit union members to run their affairs, while being held to a high level of accountability.

As we acknowledge the expanding role of credit unions in Barbados over the past 76 years, one must reflect on our contribution to widening the local financial landscape.

Through the determination of credit union stalwarts and the coordinating role of the BCCULL, the movement has significantly narrowed the gap between its product offerings and that of other financial institutions. These range from card services to online banking facilities, from expanded mortgage services to investment opportunities.

After years of behind-the-scenes petitioning, credit unions are now active participants in the automated clearing house (ACH) banking facility which allows smooth integration into the financial system and real time processing of transactions.

One important step in levelling the playing field for credit union members is the attainment of deposit insurance for their savings. The realisation of this goal is actively in train, and the board of directors of BCCULL continues its efforts toward this advancement.

As we bring awareness to our contribution over the last seven decades, we are also proud of our inclusion as a full member of Barbados’ vaunted Social Partnership.

Our presence in the Social Partnership has added significant value to the deliberations on social and economic issues and the shaping of national policies and development.

It is, therefore, with great pride that I join members of this movement at home and abroad in wishing you Happy International Credit Union Day 2023!



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