CREDIT unions in the country moved a step further in providing their members 24-hour access to their money with the launch yesterday of a credit union ATM card called UNICARD.
This round-the-clock instant access to funds initiative was launched by the St. Lucia Co-operative Credit Union League Limited. Eight credit unions have joined this initiative. The launch took place at the Hibiscus Room at Sandals Regency La Toc.
St. Lucia Co-operative Credit Union League Limited has, for the past three years, been working with Capita Financial Services Inc. for the recent installation of four automated teller machines (ATM) which are now situated in four strategic locations in the north, south, east and west of the island.
These locations include the office of the St. Lucia Co-operative Credit Union League Ltd on the William Peter Boulevard, Castries; the office of the Laborie Co-operative Credit Union Ltd at the Vieux Fort Branch on New Dock Road; the office of the Mon Repos Eastern Co-operative Credit Union Ltd in Micoud and the office of the Choiseul Co-operative Credit Union Ltd in Choiseul. In fact, the first ATM transaction took place yesterday at the Laborie Co-operative Credit Union Ltd.
The credit union ATM card service is currently in the pilot phase of the total three phases set out for the project. Four out of the eight credit unions which are on board will be participating in the pilot phase of the project. They are the Laborie Co-operative Credit Union Ltd, St. Lucia Teachers Credit Co-operative Ltd, Mon Repos Eastern Co-operative Credit Union Ltd and Saltibus Co-operative Credit Union Ltd. Capita Financial will be working with the St. Lucia Co-operative Credit Union League Limited to develop the network infrastructure of the ATMs. During this phase, which is expected to last approximately three weeks, a select group will be issued ATM cards.
The remaining four participating credit unions will join in by the end of January 2020. They are Dennery Community Credit Co-operative Society Ltd; Fond St. Jacques Co-operative Credit Union Ltd; St. Lucia Hospitality Industry Workers Credit Co-operative Society Ltd and Saltibus Co-operative Credit Union Ltd.
In the second phase of the UNICARD Project a local debit card facility and access to other local ATM networks will be implemented. International debit access will be provided to members through a major card facility provider in the final phase of the project.
“Acknowledging that credit unions are financial institutions, operating in a very competitive environment, the league in collaboration with its members, took the decision towards providing the kinds of services which our members require,” said Gilroy Satney, President of St. Lucia Co-operative Credit Union League Limited who was present at the launch of UNICARD.
“Our decision was driven by the fact that our members are becoming increasingly interested in convenience; they wanted access to their money 24 hours a day, if and when the need arose, in a location nearest to them,” he remarked.
UNICARD, according to the League, was birthed from the recognition that in order for the league to survive and grow, member institutions needed to innovate and find ways of remaining relevant to their members.
Paul Maxwell, President and CEO of Capita Financial Services Inc, was also present at the UNICARD launch. In his address he said, “Starting today and over the course of the next few weeks, credit union members will be issued their ATM cards and begin enjoying the convenience of having access to their funds when they need it.” He said the credit union ATM card will attract more persons toward credit union membership because of the unlimited access to funds.