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Credit union aims to attract new members

  • Lending a hand: from left, Brian Branch, CEO of the World Council of Credit Unions; Graham Nesbitt, president of the BIU Credit Union Co-op society, and Micah Davis, general manager (Photograph by Kevin Smith)

The Bermuda Industrial Union’s rebranded credit union has set its sights on drawing thousands of new members, the BIU has announced.

Now dubbed the Bermuda Credit Union Co-op Society, it aims to grow its membership up to as many as 25,000, according to Brian Branch, president and chief executive officer of the World Council of Credit Unions.

There are 68,000 credit unions worldwide servicing about 235 million members and the WCCU plans to reach 260 million members by 2020, Mr Branch said — a campaign that includes Bermuda’s efforts.

“It’s very important for us to support and work with this member of the international credit union community,” he said.

“Today there are about 4,200 members of the Bermuda Credit Union Co-op Society.

“When we look at the population of Bermuda and discuss targets, our estimates are that over the next few years, the society could reach 20 to 25,000 members.”

Expansion would depend on responding to changing needs where “consumers demand convenience and access, and they’re going to look for a variety of lending and savings products.”

Online services are now available, he said, with mobile access to accounts being “another step ahead of us”.

He said that the appeal of credit unions versus banks “varies from country to country”.

“A stockholder-owned commercial bank is going to have to maximise profits to provide the return to its private shareholders,” he said.

“A credit union is owned by its members — the capital within is built from its retained earnings, and therefore owned by the credit union.”

Returns could thus contribute towards the expansion of services.

Yesterday marked the first public announcement of the rebranding, according to Graham Nesbitt, president of the credit union, who was joined by Micah Davis, its general manager.