The Churches Co-operative Credit Union (CCCU) and GSB Co-operative Credit Union have announced plans to merge their respective operations into a more powerful and more viable financial institution.
At a joint press conference, representatives from both entities said that the Credit Unions have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which will govern the necessary due diligence to facilitate a timely and seamless transition.
The Boards of Directors of each Credit Union have already agreed to the merger in principle. However, the Credit Unions will now have to sensitize their members to the plans to secure their approval and garner their support.
The proposed merger comes at a time when both institutions are reporting positive financial performance but see the need to strengthen their position as a means of ensuring long term viability. At the end of 2010, GSB had achieved a 12% increase in their overall portfolio when compared to 2009 and had assets totalling $2.5 billion dollars. During the same period, CCCU also experienced growth with its total assets moving from J$3.9 billion dollars to J$4.3 billion dollars, representing an increase of 11.3 per cent.
Also, in spite of the harsh economic climate last year CCCU's loan portfolio grew by 9.5 per cent from J$2.7 billion dollars to J$3 billion dollars; while GSB saw an 8.2 per cent increase in their loans which stood at $1.7 billion dollars at the end of 2010.
In announcing the merger, CCCU President, Orville Hill said, "As separate entities, the CCCU and GSB have achieved substantial growth and expansion and, as a single unit we will be able to build on that solid platform to take our business to the next level and become one of the leading financial institutions in the country."
"This merger can only redound to the benefit of all of our members who will now have a more extensive slate of products and services to choose from, a higher level of customer service, more locations from which to do business, and numerous other benefits," he added.
President of the GSB Credit Union, Mr. Michael Roofe said the amalgamation of the two entities was "imperative" in light of the current economic climate.
"It is our fervent hope that the meeting of our minds will bring forth superlative ideas which will ultimately lead to a stronger institution capable of withstanding the vicissitudes of this challenging period," he said.
"We must never forget the purpose of the proposed merger which is to achieve economies in our operations, enhance service quality through the observance of best practices in all areas of our operations and ultimately, to augment the value which will accrue to our members."
Founded in 1944 to provide banking services to government workers, the GSB was the first credit union in Jamaica to accumulate 1,000 pounds and now has more than 28,000 members. CCCU was established in 1971 and has since become the second largest credit union in Jamaica with a membership base that exceeds 118,000.