A St. Patrick’s Cooperative Credit Union official says while the imminent sale of a local bank will leave the island without adequate competition, they plan to step into the void by providing additional services including an automated teller machine to their members.
Speaking on ZJB Radio on International Credit Union Day on Thursday, October 15, 2020, General Manager Peter Queeley said they presently held assets of $68 million and were poised to continue to serve the 4500 members of the institution in new ways in the coming year.
Queeley said while he was happy that an international bank will move into local hands when the sale of the local branch of the Royal Bank of Canada to the Bank of Montserrat is complete, it could mean an increase in the cost of doing business for residents and also the credit union. No date for the completion of the sale has been released.
One of the plans that the union pursued upon hearing of the sale, was to approach the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank as part of the cooperative of credit unions in the OECS to gain approval for purchasing XCD directly from them versus the current practice of from a local bank. They have received approval for the direct cash sales and along with that, the ECCB will offer the credit unions checking account clearing services.
The GM added that the SPCCU is currently researching credit card services, which can be extremely costly for small operations. To that end, they are looking at working with a regional partner to offer this facility to members.
Queeley said by early December they expect to begin testing of online and mobile banking services with a few of their customers. By June 2021, the credit union plans to offer ATM services, which has been a frequent request they have received.
“The absence of RBC demands that we step up,” Queeley added.
The credit union also plans to revitalise the National Development Fund to offer small loans for businesses within the next few months.