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Credit Union League Official Uneasy About New Regulations

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St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN):  Credit Union delegates from the OECS sub-region are discussing new regulations and laws to better govern their operations.

But not everyone is happy with the proposed changes.

Some of the regulations are in conflict with the legislation, according to the President of the St Kitts and Nevis National Cooperative League – Andy Liburd.

“We are now faced with new regulations, news acts, new laws, new standards.  They are all coming down on us, and all at the same time,” Liburd complained.

He told the Eleventh Annual OECS Credit Union Summit Thursday that if enacted in their present form, some of the proposed regulatory measures could have a devastating impact on the credit union movement.

“The credit union has always been regulated, we are not afraid of regulations,” the League president said.

He said that the movement was faced with many challenges including the effects of the world economic fallout “coupled with the regulations, acts, laws and the standards.  They are all coming to us at the same time and if enacted in their present form, will surely wipe us out from the world of business”. 

Liburd did not go into details about the specific regulations fuelling his concern.

Another speaker at the Summit  opening at the Marriott Hotel, Premier Vance Amory, insisted that the credit union cannot continue with the existing regulations – regulations thought to need tightening.

Premier Amory suggested that the credit unions in the region need to adjust and respond to the needs of their members.

“I believe there’s an agreement amongst all parties that we cannot continue with the present  regulatory environment where regulators lack the training and capability to undertake effective oversight of these institutions,” Premier Amory told the summit participants.

But he also warned against “imposing draconian regulatory systems which may hamper the growth and the effectiveness of the organizations”.

Prime Minister Denzil Douglas has meanwhile pointed out that credit union staff and other personnel handle millions of dollars of people’s money and need to be properly equipped to deal with that.

He sees the introduction of appropriate laws and regulation as helping ensure that the credit union provides the best possible service to its customers.

“They handle large sums of money, people’s money – assets.  We in government therefore have a responsibility to ensure that they are properly regulated,” the prime minister said.

He said the idea was to secure the assets of persons who put their money into the credit union.  

Local League president Liburd says he is not against regulatory change, but has expressed concern that the movement is expected to absorb so much so quickly.

He says he is worried too, that too much regulation can put credit unions in the realm of the banking sector and impact in a negative way on the rank and file who at the moment depend on that local financial institution to meet some of their financial requirements.  

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