With the government’s proposal to increase cooperative societies’ transfer of shares payable to death beneficiaries and authorise them to cash cheques, the Central Finance Facility (CFF) believes that the cooperative movement is finally being taken seriously.
According to CFF president Letitia Telesford, members are elated that there are indications that the Central Government has remembered the credit union movement. With the prospects of the movement increasing its stake in the local finance industry, Telesford encouraged credit union leaders to participate in the upcoming ‘Thought Leadership Session’ with Minister of Public Utilities, Robert Lee Hunte, who will speak on the national budget.
The Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union is carded to speak on its acquisition of the Guaracara Refinery Company in Pointe-a-Pierre.
“For years, credit unions have been clamouring for enhanced regulations, an increase in the death benefit limit and the power of credit unions to encash government checks and to pay utility bills on behalf of their members.
“Finally, we are being taken seriously. While we are encouraged by these announcements, we know that there is a long road ahead,” said Telesford.
She added, “As a movement of some 400 citizens with $15 billion in assets, we have long sought to be a respected partner of Government in national development.
“At the CFF, we want our members to own and operate businesses and control the enterprises from whom we buy. The 2019/2020 Budget signals the beginning of our journey towards these goals.”
During Monday’s national budget reading, Finance Minister Colm Imbert announced the proposal to amend the Co-operative Societies’ Act to increase the current limit of $5,000 imposed on the transfer of shares or interest payable to a nominated beneficiary upon the death of a member to $50,000.
The measure is expected to take effect from January 1, 2020.
Additionally, steps are to be taken to allow credit unions to offer services similar to the banks, including the payment of utility bills.
A new independent authority to govern the co-operative sector will be established to regulate financial co-operatives and report to the Ministry of Finance.
When established, financial credit unions will be able to offer banking or quasi-banking services, such as the encashment of cheques and teller services.
The Deposit Insurance Corporation will be required to maintain a fund to meet any emerging liabilities of the sector.