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Credit Union to Pilot Central Bank’s Automated Clearing House Project

Montserrat’s lone credit union has been selected to pilot the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank’s new automated clearing house (ACH) project.

Peter Queeley, General Manager of the St. Patrick’s Cooperative Credit Union (SPCCU) announced last week that they were pleased to be the first credit union in the Eastern Caribbean approved to kick off the pilot. The other credit unions which will test the ACH are Liberty in Anguilla, Community First in Antigua & Barbuda, and Ariza in Grenada.

He said as customers have a greater desire for digital, the testing of Electronic Funds Transfers (EFTs) will be the first aspect of the ACH to be tested. At a later date, the credit union will introduce cheque clearing.

Mr. Queeley noted that Montserrat received approval from the ECCB due to its limited banking infrastructure, which includes only one bank. This restriction has left the credit union with no alternative but to rely on this single institution for processing its customers’ financial transactions.

What this means for the credit union and its customers, is that they will no longer have to use Bank of Montserrat (BOM) to process electronic payments within the Eastern Caribbean. Instead, the SPCCU will be able to directly access the ECCB’s automated clearing house to allow for payments to any of the financial institutions who are also using the ACH. See ECACH for the full list of institutions.

BOM will still be needed for payments outside of the ECCB financial region.

The piloting of EFTs is expected to be implemented once the current renovations and establishment of an automated teller machine (ATM) are completed at the credit union building in Brades in seven months.

ECCB officials are expected to visit the credit union ahead of the service launch, along with members of the SPCCU staff going abroad for training to prepare for the implementation of the pilot. Queeley noted that the necessary hardware for connecting with the central bank has already been purchased.

Being able to process EFTs will go a long way towards enhancing the experience for customers, said the general manager.

The local credit union is exploring partnerships with other Caribbean credit unions to introduce a regional debit and credit card solution, which would distribute operational expenses among the members.