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OECS Credit Unions to Foster Greater Collaboration

by: - June 15, 2019
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Chair of the OECS Working Group and General Manager of the Dominica Co-operative Societies League Ltd., Mr. Phoenix Belfield

 

The 15th OECS Credit Union Summit was held under the Theme “Empowering Credit Unions for the
Future.” The Summit, held in St. Lucia from June 5th -8th, 2019, brought together more than two hundred (200) credit union volunteers, senior management and staff from the OECS.

The 2019 Summit has been dubbed highly successful as it heralds in a new era for  credit unions.

An agreement has been reached for the first time to chart a pathway toward full co-operation and integration of the sector that will bring significant benefits to the over four hundred thousand members the Credit Union Movement serves in the OECS region.
This year, the grouping welcomed the participation of its newest member, the Liberty Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. in Anguilla.

Chair of the OECS Working Group and General Manager of the Dominica Co-operative Societies League Ltd., Phoenix Belfield, emphasized the timeliness of the integration efforts. He told the Summit, “The time has come for the Credit Union movement to build on the synergies created over the last decades. The financial and operational landscapes are changing at a rapid pace and with it, the need for us to retool in areas of governance, compliance, operational efficiency, risk management,
technology, investments and other critical infrastructure needed in order to increase value and the
quality of service to our members”.

The Summit attracted the attendance of high level delegations from the regional Credit Union Leagues, Regulators and representation from the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and the OECS Secretariat.

Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Equity, Social Justice, Empowerment, Youth Development, Sports and Local Government, the Honorable Lenard Montoute, welcomed delegates on behalf of the Government and people of St. Lucia.

The Summit featured very high level participation from member Credit Unions across the OECS, and attracted high profile speakers on topics including Leadership, Young Entrepreneurs in Business, Block-chain Technology, Legislation and The Readiness of Credit Unions & Adaption to Change.

The Governor of the ECCB, Timothy Antoine, was in attendance and delivered a very engaging and powerful Keynote Address. His participation was a very welcomed development as the sector seeks to deepen its relationship with the Central Bank. In fact, the Credit Union Movement has seen an increase in collaborative efforts under the stewardship of Governor Antoine.

In addressing the unfolding relationship between the Central Bank and the Credit Unions, Belfield told delegates that, “it is our desire to increase collaboration with the ECCB in many areas to ensure the long- term viability and sustainable growth of our financial sector and to ensure that our systemically important financial institutions are run with solid policy and governance infrastructures.”

A specially- constituted Working Group will advance the mandate in a number of key areas for integration, collaboration, lobbying and regional engagements with regulators, governments and key stakeholders.