Business

COK records improved mid-year performance

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

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The latest unaudited accounts of the City of Kingston Sodality Co-operative Credit Union Limited (COK) feature a significantly improved mid-year performance by some key operating indicators compared to the similar period last year.

A 170 per cent jump in the surplus generated, moving from $7.728 million at the end of last June to $20.879 million at the end of June 2017, is the most significant marker, while significant upward movement is seen in the areas of investments which grew by 10.7 per cent to $2.11 billion from $1.93 billion at the end of June 2016.

Savings, that is deposits and voluntary shares, increased by 8.6 per cent from $7.116 billion to $7.732 billion by comparison.

In the area of its loan portfolio, COK recorded an increase of 11.9 per cent – from $5.621 billion in June last year to $6.294 billion at the end of the similar period this year.

The Credit Union's assets grew significantly from $8.171 billion in June 2016 to $9.085 billion at the end of June 2017, an increase of 11 per cent.

COK's CEO, Ambassador Aloun Assamba, is pleased with the improving performance which she credits to increased operational efficiencies, an enthusiastic team, and enhanced services which meet the needs and wishes of the credit union's membership, as well as enhanced outreach and marketing initiatives.

“Internal efficiencies – such as an overhaul of our loan processing system in 2015 – have definitely had a positive effect on reducing delinquency,” she noted.

“In 2015 COK changed how we adjudicated loans. Instead of individual branch offices making the decision, the applications are sent to a central credit unit where they are able to collectively examine the loan, and share experiences and other features. This has led to improvements in the quality of the credit which has redounded positively to reducing bad debts,” she said.

Assamba notes that COK is sensing a greater degree of overall interest among its members as a result of initiatives to empower them to achieve financial literacy through a recently concluded series of islandwide members' meetings and public fora.

Since January this year, COK has held five members' meetings and four public fora in towns where its branch offices are located – namely Kingston, Portmore, Mandeville and Montego Bay.

The Credit Union's goal is to educate members to understand how to meet their financial needs and achieve their life goals by prudently utilising the wide menu of products it offers and to provide feedback.

With a broad range of financial products tailored to help members accomplish critical benchmarks – such as home ownership, financing their education, purchasing a motor vehicle and growing their micro and small businesses, while building thrift – COK prides itself on its co-operative philosophy, which centres on the reality of each member being a shareholder and democratic partner in the financial entity.

“At COK your investments, like shares and other financial products, strengthen your financial position. When you take out a loan you make repayments on the reducing balance, which means that your principal is reduced incrementally after your first month's repayment. In addition, you are required to save while you repay your loan by putting aside 10 per cent of the loan repayment amount in a savings plan,” stressed Assamba during her presentations.

She further pointed out that members can use their savings to secure loans for others, and that “at COK the debt dies with the debtor due to automatic loan protection insurance offered by CUNA Mutual Insurance and paid for by COK, up to an amount of eight hundred thousand dollars.”

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