Community and Workers of Jamaica Co-operative Credit Union Limited (C&WJCCUL) in advising that it will be permanently closing its Eureka Road branch as of February 1, 2018, says the move is strategic with plans the company has for 2018.
Chief Executive Officer, Carlton Barclay in an interview with the Jamaica Observer yesterday, said 2017 brought excellent growth to the company, with its balance sheet improvements of more than $1 billion while net profit tripled that of 2016.
C&WJ's Eureka Road branch was obtained when it merged with the National Water Commission Credit Union in 2016, but, according to Barclay, the location was never really used as a branch. He noted that having seen such significant increase in profit year over year, it was the best time to close the location.
“It was actually a part of their head office. The location doesn't have any parking, although it is at a fairly busy intersection and it never really did very well in terms of attracting any type of savings and or investments. So it was in our interest after evaluation to close the location,” he told Sunday Finance.
In a notice to the public on Friday, C&WJ said that effective February 1, it will permanently close the Eureka Road branch and all business transactions will be consolidated to its Marescaux Road branch office.
“The last day of business will be January 31, 2018. All accounts currently maintained at the Eureka branch will automatically be transferred to Marescaux Road, hence no action by members will be necessary,” the notice read.
It added business may be conveniently conducted at any one of its remaining 17 branch locations throughout the island, specifically those in the Corporate Area -- the closest of which are located at 51 Half Way Tree Road, Marescaux Road, Kingston 5; 33-35 Harbour Street; 9 East Parade and 4 Fourth Avenue, Newport West.
Barclay told Sunday Finance that the six individuals employed at the Eureka Road branch office will be utilised throughout the credit union's network, including the head office.
Last July, C&WJ, among other credit unions, partnered with the National Housing Trust (NHT) to set up a Housing Microfinance Loan Programme for low-income earners.The facility allowed contributors earning $30,000 weekly or less to access credit of up to $1.5 million, to help meet their respective housing needs.
Before that C&WJ offered to the public 24-hour loan approval. Barclay said that the two initiatives played a significant role in driving loan growth for the company's 2017 financial year.
“The members had confidence in the credit union in terms of loans so we found that our loan growth is a major drive. We had a campaign earlier in the year where we advertised for 24-hour loan approval — it was fantastic, we had to literally stop advertising loans and we didn't advertise loans again for the rest of the year, except for the partnership which is funded by the NHT,” he said.
“But the partnership with NHT has done excellently as well. If I was to grow by $1 billion in savings, I think I could grow by $2 billion in loans. We had up to 20 people taking up that offer on a monthly basis. I think Jamaica is a borrowing country and less of a saving country, so we have to do what we can do now to try and encourage saving, and this year that will be a priority,” he reasoned.
Barclay added that Jamaica can look for significant activities from the credit union come May. Though tight-lipped on the details, he said strategy includes expansion of the company.