THE St. Lucia Cooperative League has been called on to seize the opportunity that it has, now that it is located in the center of the financial hub of the City of Castries and among significant financial players, to set standards for other leagues in the region, particularly in relation to innovative services.
The call comes from the Financial Services Regulatory Authority which congratulated the league for finding a permanent home on the William Peter Boulevard, forty years after its birth.
The building, once home to the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, was purchased and refurbished for more than EC$3 million. It was officially opened last Thursday.
The Authority also warned the League to ensure that its new home, with its hefty price tag redounds to the ultimate benefit of its owners, who are the country’s credit union membership.
The Authority further called on the League to continue reviewing, assessing and analyzing the financial performance attributed to the project saying there is a need for that.
“The same justification provided at inception over two and a half years ago for approval of the building’s purchase and approval for nine credit unions to invest in this project, must now become your primary focus,” said the Authority’s Executive Director, Calixte Leon at the opening.
He called on the League to focus on generating the required surplus to compensate the member credit unions which had invested in the building.
“What services are you going to provide that will improve the performance of credit unions and enrich your members’ lives,” Leon asked, also querying what value-added will be created with the acquisition of the building.
He said consideration must be given to the provision of possible services to ensure that the expected business outcomes are realized and resources are adequately utilized to maximize performance of the building.
“This responsibility must be delegated to and be suitably resourced from representation by a selection of the Board of Directors and the Supervisory Committee to ensure that all aspects of the proposed services are conducted with proper accountability and transparency,” Leon said, adding that this work must be duly recognized and will only be so if periodic reports are submitted to the Board of Directors and at the annual general meetings of members.
One vision of the League in purchasing the building was that its position within the financial environment in the City of Castries would foster growth in the 16 credit unions on the island hereby expanding the credit union sector.
This vision was encouraged by Leon who reminded the League’s Board of Directors and management that the possibilities for development are endless.
“You must now give expression to your earlier interest and intention to deliver and modernize various services at this new location. The opportunity exists now to introduce offerings that will generate substantial surplus thereby providing adequate returns on the initial investments by credit unions. Hopefully by offering shared and other services, this will foster the opportunity for credit union togetherness, teamwork, and fulfillment of national sector goals,” Leon said.
To the credit unions which participated in the purchase of the building Leon called on them to create offerings that will generate and stimulate financial growth that will enable and ensure acceptable returns from their investment.
“The utilization of this building must be such that it will encourage efficiency, growth, education and development for co-operative movement,” Leon said, reminding all to be mindful of the economic and social impact within the credit union sector and the financial services sector as the challenges of yesterday have become more difficult today.