For the first time since 1971, the government of Trinidad and Tobago will make substantial reforms to its credit union legislation. They have sought World Council of Credit Unions, Inc. to provide technical and legislative advice on the policy proposal.
The legislative initiative will ensure that credit unions have their own act and will become prudentially supervised by the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago.
The Central Bank contracted World Council to advise on the proposal following a visit in May when World Council's chairman, Gary Plank of the Arizona Credit Union League met with Trinidad and Tobago's president and Central Bank representatives.
"We knew that World Council had an international perspective on legislation and best practices as it applies to credit unions, and we wanted to draw on that," said Charles de Silva, manager – policy, Financial Institutions Supervision Department. "As a Central Bank, we have an instinct to rely on international organizations we feel have the best grasp on best practices throughout the world and can give us an independent view…World Council is interested in the best legislation and doesn't have a particular ax to grind."
As part of the legislative reforms, the Central Bank will license World Council's PEARLS monitoring system to aid its examiners in monitoring the financial condition of the nation's 127 active credit unions.
"In many years of assisting the credit union movement and national government with forming new legislation for credit unions, I have never come across an example where they relied so heavily on World Council's Model Law for Credit Unions," indicated Dave Grace, World Council senior manager of association services. "We support credit unions being supervised by skilled prudential supervisors and having their own piece of legislation. We applaud Trinidad and Tobago for moving forward on both of these fronts."
As more nations in the Caribbean such as Jamaica, Barbados, and Belize move toward prudential credit union supervision by the Central Bank, the consultative experience in Trinidad and Tobago will become a path for others to follow.
World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development agency for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.
World Council has implemented more than 290 technical assistance programs in 71 countries. Worldwide, 57,000 credit unions in 103 countries serve 208 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.