Speech from President H. Anthony Griffin: 40th Anniversary of Barbados Public Workers Co-Op Credit Union {BPWCCUL}

Remarks by H. Anthony Griffin, President BPWCCUL

On the occasion of

The Launch of 40th Anniversary Celebrations

Savannah Hotel – April 15th 2010

Welcome and Introduction

BPWCCUL President Anthony Griffin

BPWCCUL President Anthony Griffin

Good morning ladies and gentlemen of the press – it is a pleasure to welcome you to this event and to provide you with an opportunity to learn a little more about Barbados Public Workers Cooperative Credit Union as we officially launch the Credit Union’s 40th Anniversary Celebrations.

My role this morning is to give you a brief historical perspective of the credit union so that you can better appreciate the significant growth in all aspects of the Credit Union over the past 40 years. I will also share with you some of the key performance indicators, important milestones over the period and share with you my vision of the credit union beyond the celebration of our 40th anniversary.

I think it is important at the outset to pay a short tribute to the great pioneers who on May 6th 1970 launched the credit union which at its Annual General Meeting on November 19th 1977, would change its name to Barbados Public Workers Cooperative Credit Union.

Some of these Important pioneers included…

  • Clarence Greenidge, who served as a long-time treasurer of the organization
  • Ralph Boyce – who served as an important leader during the first tentative years of our existence…
  • Sir Harcourt Lewis whose recent knighthood reinforced his contribution to the entire Credit Union Movement and to “Public Workers

Keith Bourne, SCM… who is in every sense a hero of this credit union and in whose name our Belmont Road Campus is named.

Another important group that has played a significant role over the history of the Credit Union is our army of “Representatives” who work in various departments across the island and who play an important role as Evangelists of the movement. These most important members help with the recruitment of new members, and provide important grassroots financial advice for their co-workers. This group continues to this day, to spread the good news of the Credit Union.

Credit Union Growth…

Over the years the success of Barbados Public Workers Cooperative Credit Union has been reflected in its corporate premises.

We started humbly, at “Basca House” a property owned by the National Union of Public Workers. When we outgrew these premises, we moved to a larger space at NUPW Headquarters but when we outgrew those premises, we acquired “Melbourne House” in 1985.

BPWCCUL Managers: Irwin Gibson (IT Manager) and Susan Yaw (Operations Manager)

BPWCCUL Managers: Irwin Gibson (IT Manager) and Susan Yaw (Operations Manager)

This property was upgraded and renamed the “Keith Bourne Complex”. Today it remains our Corporate Headquarters with three buildings – each named after one of the stalwarts of the organization:

  • Olive Trotman House
  • Clarence Jemmot House
  • Harcourt Lewis Training Centre

We have since acquired our Broad Street property and opened our second office there in 2002. Our third branch has since been established in the thriving and rapidly growing area of Six Roads St. Philip in June 2008. That branch has from inception outperformed its targets.


Barbados Public Workers Cooperative Credit Union Limited has a proud history of implementing the best technology in order to meet the needs of our members.

Over the years there are many examples of this… our Co-Optima Contact, Member Service Contact Centre is one example. The Contact Centre allows members direct access to a Member Services Agent via telephone or via web-chat to facilitate transactions from the comfort of members’ homes or offices.

For the more computer-savvy member, we also implemented internet access to member accounts through our Co-Optima Connect online application. With this secure portal, members, especially those in the Diaspora, with access to the internet, can access their account from anywhere.

In recent years our members have demanded the convenience of using their debit cards throughout Barbados. We obliged by joining the national CARIFS network. As the first non-banking financial institution to join this switch we are happy that our members have responded by making full use of the debit and ATM network across Barbados.

In addition to this, our members have been depositing funds and repaying loans using SUREPAY Bill Payments. As a result of this strategic alliance with SUREPAY we have brought a higher level of convenience to members.

However… Our most recent product tailored to meet members’ needs has been the already popular “Top Up and Go”. This is now the easiest way to top up a pre-paid cell-phone in Barbados. Through this high-technology solution, a member simply sends a secure text message in order to top up their mobile phones using funds from their existing member account. What could be simpler?

I am happy to report that since its launch this product has attracted over 25 hundred (2,500) members who are now using this platform to top up their LIME and DIGICEL mobile phones. This is a revolutionary breakthrough in member convenience.

It is also important to mention that we intend to be the first indigenous financial institution to build a new flagship corporate headquarters in Warrens. We have acquired a prime one acre site in this rapidly expanding commercial centre and sometime in the future this property will be developed to meet the changing needs of our members.
This is another example of the Credit Union’s leadership planning for the future growth and ensuring the Credit Union’s future is secure.

Financial Highlights

The Audit for the year ended March 31st 2010 is ongoing, but I believe I can share with you some key highlights.
As at March 31st 2010, Barbados Public Workers Cooperative Credit Union had assets of 650 Million Barbados Dollars ($650M), representing 12% growth for the year.

During the year ended March 31st, there has been similar 12% growth in the loan portfolio which now stands at 550 million dollars ($550M).

The projected surpus for the year just past is projected at 10 million which compares favourably with last year’s surplus of 7.5 million.

The Credit Union currently has some 55 thousand members – comprising residents and Barbadians in the Diaspora.
These figures represent steady and sustainable growth over the 40 years of the credit union’s existence.


L to R - Dean St. Hill, 40th Anniversary Planning Chairman; Anthony Griffin, President and Clorinda Alleyne, Chief Executive Officer

L to R - Dean St. Hill, 40th Anniversary Planning Chairman; Anthony Griffin, President and Clorinda Alleyne, Chief Executive Officer

We have grown from the small trademark “valise” or small suitcase which was used by credit union volunteers to collect the deposits of members in the 1970’s to one of the most sophisticated and robust financial institutions in the country. That “valise” is still proudly displayed in our Belmont Road branch as a reminder of this institution’s humble origins and its importance to average Barbadians who have placed their confidence in this organization over the past 40 years.

As you are also aware, Barbados Public Workers Cooperative Credit Union has also been involved in the purchase of Clico Mortgage and Finance Corporation. This too is an important landmark as we launch the events associated with our 40th anniversary.

As you would appreciate negotiations are at a delicate stage and on another occasion, you will have the opportunity to be more fully briefed on this transaction.

The Credit Union and its leadership for the last 40 years has stayed the course… and has stood resolutely behind the empowerment of Barbadians from all walks of life.

Over those 40 years we have demonstrated how a belief in ideals and with the blessings of God, much can be achieved despite humble beginnings.

Over the next several years we therefore re-commit ourselves to the best credit union ideals of People Helping People… and if I may be allowed to quote from Phillippians Chapter 4 verse 8… “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

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