Tue | Oct 16, 2018

Public sector credit union eyes payday, home loans to reclaim lost ground

Published:Sunday | May 27, 2018 | 12:00 AMAvia Collinder
Tamara Maxwell-Green, deputy CEO of the Public Sector Employees Co-operative Credit Union Limited.

The Public Sector Employees Co-operative Credit Union Limited (PSECCUL) aims to grow its loan book by 20 per cent this year, particularly through its payday and home improvement products.

PSECCUL basically intends to double its performance this year, having grown its loan book by nearly 10 per cent to $1.63 billion in 2017.

The credit union aims to double payday loans from 11 per cent of its portfolio to 22 per cent, said Deputy CEO Tamara Maxwell Green. It has increased the loan cap in the category from $30,000 monthly to $50,000 monthly.

To grow the home loan segment, PSECCUL has cut interest rates on borrowings from 15 per cent per annum to 7.99 per cent, and has upgraded products to entice more business from a market of 100,000 public sector employees and their families.

"We have also partnered with NHT to offer up to $1.5 million to our members at a minimum interest rate of 6 per cent per annum for deposit on home/land acquisition, home improvement, solar panel purchase and even for whatever small home project that members may need to have done," said Maxwell-Green.

Unsecured loan limits have also been increased "to make it easier for members without security to access loans to assist in productive [activity], such as education, debt consolidation, home improvement and more".

In line with the growth in its loan book, PSECCUL increased its total assets by eleven per cent to $2.1 billion last year. Credit union savings also rose by 14 per cent to $1.3 billion.

PSECCUL did not grow membership during the year, ending the period at 8,620 members, but is planning to do so in 2018 with the opening of its fifth branch in Portmore. The credit union is headquartered in Kingston but also has other branches in Manchester, St Mary, and St James.

Another branch is scheduled to open by September at Portmore Park Pen, Caribbean Estate, St Catherine "with extended business hours and weekend services", Maxwell Green said.

The credit union expanded its bond in 2017, allowing for a wider pool of membership. Its bottom line took a hit however, falling by two thirds to just under $8 million from more than $24 million in 2016.

"We were just concentrating on rebranding, restructuring and staffing," said Maxwell Green, regarding the reduction in surplus.

The credit expects to rebound this year, she said, despite budgeted spending on PSECCUL's 50th anniversary celebrations, being staged from May 14 to June 9 this year.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com