Trelawny Co-op has grown leaps and bounds — Tomlinson

Thursday, May 10, 2018

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COOPER'S PEN, Trelawny — General manager of the Trelawny Cooperative Credit Union (TCU) Limited, Winston Tomlinson, says despite the challenges experienced along the way, the institution has grown leaps and bounds since its inception in 1968.

In his address at the TCU's glitzy 50th anniversary banquet at the Royalton White Sands Resort recently, Tomlinson stated that the membership of the credit union, which started on January 11, 1968 with 210 members, has over the period grown to over 35,000 members.

“Our journey has been rocky, but with perseverance we have reached this far,” said Tomlinson, adding that “our performance over the years is testimony of the sweat and tears that have been part of our journey and celebration story.”

Said Tomlinson: “For the year ending 2017, our assets grew to $2.198 billion, our savings grew to $1.46 billion, our loan portfolio grew to $1.59 billion and that's the money we lend to our members; the interest we paid out to our members on their savings was $26.6 million, our surplus grew to $80.8 million and our membership is well over 35,000 members excluding youth membership which is way over 4,000 children who are savers at the credit union.”

Tomlinson then revealed some of what took place inside the credit union over the years.

“The greatest risk we take in the credit union is with our members.”

He recounted that during the period when the Bank of Jamaica was giving 60 per cent on deposit, “this credit union chose to lend money to our members at the risk of some of them not able to pay back on time. And when they came to ask me how much money the credit union has in the Bank of Jamaica, “I said $1 million because our members are the most important part of the credit union. They own the credit union. So instead of putting the money to earn 60 per cent we attended to our members' needs because at that time the interest rate was just 12 per cent,” Tomlinson remarked to thunderous applause from the scores of members in attendance.

He underscored that the TCU is all about facilitating the welfare of its members.

“We have no apology at the Trelawny Co-op Credit Union that we think we owe it to our people to change their lives, to move the next generation to be better than the one we come and see,” he argued.

President of the Trelawny Chamber of Commerce, Delroy Christie, who congratulated the TCU on its 50th anniversary, argued that “Trelawny is possibly the fastest developing parish in Jamaica” and the TCU has a pivotal role to play in facilitating its return to the wealth it experienced during the colonial era.

“This credit union is to us the catalyst that will bring the parish to where it used to be as Jamaica's richest parish in the 18th and 19th century. And with your continued involvement, we can reach that goal again,” Christie stressed.

“The most important thing to us is affordable financing and that's where the credit union has been very, very important to us, because without the credit union working the way they have interacted with us, we could not survive. So, we have a relationship that is very, very important to us.”

Custos Rotolorum of Trelawny Paul Muschett, and Trelawny Northern Member of Parliament Victor Wright, also congratulated the financial institution for standing the test of time.

“For any institution to be celebrating 50 years of business in this parish, it must be cause for celebration. I commend the board, the management and staff for staying the course these 50 years. It is not easy for any financial institution to have come through the 90s, the 2000s and to be as strong as this institution is,” Muschett argued, adding that he will become a member shortly.

For his part, Wright, who is a member, referred to the TCU as the “people's bank”.

“I can attest that customers get 100 per cent customer service at the credit union,” he stressed.

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