Dr. the Honourable Norman Dunn, Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce is encouraging the Credit Union movement in Jamaica to remain in touch with the unique needs of members, even as it endeavours to expand the use of technology. Speaking at the 5th Annual General Meeting of Gateway Co-operative Credit Union yesterday, he said that the Credit Union movement was established in response to challenges faced by the least privileged in society and that its members include many elderly Jamaicans who are still becoming familiar with new and emerging technology.
"As you institute digital upgrades, you must remember those who still rely on traditional methods of doing business so that they are not excluded from the system. The Credit Union is for the people and we must do everything we can to support them while providing guidance in the use of new forms of technology."
He said that the government continues to strengthen the national governance and legislative framework to advance economic growth and development within an inclusive and enabling business environment. “Ultimate success will depend on organisations such as Gateway, to seek new and innovative ways of supporting their diverse membership.” “In fact,” he continued, “many of your members are small business operators and the MSME sector accounts for some 60% of employment in Jamaica with significant returns to GDP."
The State Minister applauded Gateway for their resilience throughout the pandemic, noting that they continued to offer loans and moratoria while many other companies scaled back operations. "But what was perhaps most pleasing” he said, “was the rate of repayment among borrowers. In the Credit Union movement, the acceptable rate of delinquency is 5% but Gateway kept the ratio at 3.2%."
Gateway is the 6th largest Credit Union in the league with over 70,000 members, a loan portfolio of 6.8 billion dollars and assets totalling nine billion dollars.
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The Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce is described as Jamaica's "Business Ministry." It's mandate is to lead the development of policies that will create growth and jobs, while achieving social inclusion and consumer protection. The Ministry, working its stakeholders is primarily responsible for business policy development, monitoring and evaluation, while giving direction and oversight to a cluster of implementing departments and agencies.
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