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Together we can change the world…

Members of the Board, Supervisory and Credit Committees, General Manager Management and staff, members, specially invited guests, our Auditors, members of the media, ladies and gentlemen: welcome to the year’s 35th Annual General Meeting of the Barbados Workers’ Union Cooperative Credit Union Limited.


Today I have titled my talk: Together, We Can Change the World after the Mark Shepherd song that we played before the start of this meeting.

Mark’s lyrics are simple but powerful. I’ll cite a few lines:

Lay the puzzle pieces out 
Find out what it’s all about 
Together we can change the world

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Think about our world in Barbados, more specifically, our credit union world.   Together we can make the Barbados Workers’ Union Cooperative Credit Union Limited the number 1 institution for meeting people's financial, economic, and social needs. This vision embodies the essence of credit unionism: people working together to achieve one common goal.

Credit unionism and the BWUCCUL are about people helping people to:

  • achieve their financial goals

  • empower themselves

  • create wealth

  • contribute to society’s development

  • and to build an organization that remains resilient, caring, strong, and membership focused.

Whether you are an employee, a member, or a volunteer at the BWUCCUL, we can achieve this vision by remembering that people are the epicenter of our business. 

Over the past year, you our members, helped us to grow our assets by 7% to $159 million by:

  1. Saving with us

  2. Borrowing from us

  3. Referring us to friends and family

  4. Investing with us

  5. Sharing your ideas and your recommendations

 We thank and applaud all members. I extend special commendations to the younger members among us who, under our Secretary’s leadership, designed a programme to help us to connect with the younger demographic. We have started to roll out their suggestions. Thanks.

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And to Brother Robert Gibson, who is absent, the Board recognizes you and your committee’s  work in determining the stalwarts whom we will honour, when we open our headquarters officially next weekend.

Our staff offered quality customer service and developed approaches to better meet our members’ financial and other needs. They designed and delivered special packages to support your circumstance, and helped you to weather the difficult times. Our staff were there for us when you needed them most.  Join me in applauding our employees and the management team.

We the volunteers focused on creating the right environment within the parameters of the law and develop policies that engender efficiency and effectiveness.  We continue to build an organisation that remains relevant and foster a workplace that is responsive, nimble and caring.  We help by practicing good corporate governance, and by encouraging and promoting transparency and honesty.

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We grew this year: we reached a record operational surplus of $1.1 million, expanded our assets, increased our loans by 11%, maintained our delinquency below the benchmark of 5%, and helped a lot more people realize their financial and economic goals.

We had some challenges too, all outside of our control. Last year, you asked about the likely impact of the debt restructuring on our credit union. We could not say then because we did not have the details. I report today that this measure, to restore the country’s economic equilibrium, resulted in a write down of close to four million dollars. 

Secondly, we adopted the IFRS 9 accounting standard that requires us to account for all loans good and impaired, and not only the defaulted loans as stipulated before IFRS. This change, an international accounting requirement, resulted in a further write-down of five (5) million dollars.

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And thirdly, the depressed property market affected the valuation of our newly -renovated headquarters. The value is based on the market/sale price, i.e., what we would earn were we to sell today, leading to another write-down of over one million dollars.  As the country’s economy recovers, and our capital City is revitalized with the planned investments Government has articulated, we expect the value of our building to improve.

Returning to the overall impact of the debt restructuring, IFRS 9 and the valuation of the building, these three events reduced our capital by eight million dollars. The Financial Services Commission, our regulators, has recognised the national impact of the government debt restructuring on the industry and have allowed us time to rebuild our equity.  We have started to work on a plan to strengthen our capital.  We have considered all options, and immediately after this AGM, we intend to discuss our proposed way forward with the Financial Services Commission. We have communicated our intentions to the FSC already, and they are ready to talk. Following those discussions, we will report to you.


So, in the words of Mark Shepherd: Roll up our sleeves let’s get started, members, staff, and volunteers, as we celebrate our 35th birthday, and prepare for the next 35.

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Together we can change the world; our credit union world.  We will do it by transforming and reforming how we manage our operations and incorporating green products and services into our mix.  Our greening campaign accelerated today with the use of e-documents only for this meeting. No more printing.  We will do it by making greater use of our technology to make it more convenient for you.  We will do it by working together and helping each other for the good of our beloved credit union, you our members and our country. We will do it.  That is the Board’s and management’s commitment.


I thank you.