President of the Central Finance Facility (CFF), Esme Raphael, has welcomed Finance Minister Winston Dookeran's assurance to ensure the continued safety and soundness of credit unions, in light of the billion-dollar Clico/CL Financial debacle.
The CFF, located in Chaguanas, is regulated by the Commissioner for Co-operative Development in the Ministry of Labour and Small and Micro Enterprise Development. It provides its services only to credit unions. The CFF, on behalf of the Co-operative Credit Union Movement, held two meetings with the Ministry of Finance on how credit union investments in Clico should best be managed.
The CFF was also seeking clarification about Government's proposed bailout of the troubled insurance giant and its impact on its depositors, while providing alternatives to this approach. In his budget presentation last week, Dookeran outlined a plan to pay a maximum of $75,000 to all depositors initially and complete payments over a 20-year period with zero interest.
Speaking in the Senate on Monday, as he presented the 2010/2011 $49 billion fiscal package for debate, Dookeran said he was prepared to speak with stakeholders, including, credit unions, trade unionists and senior citizens whose investments in Clico were uncertain. Raphael said while the credit union movement was under no threat of collapse, the 20-year repayment plan would make it less competitive in delivering credit union services.