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Business News of Sunday, 18 March 2012

Source: GNA

Government asked to support credit unions adequately

Government has over the years have given more attention to formal financial institutions to the neglect of credit unions, Alhaji Duogu Yakubu, Wa Municipal Chief Executive has observed.

He said Government should, therefore, consider supporting credit unions by providing training programmes for their staff and creating sustainable regulatory environment for them to function satisfactorily.

Alhaji Yakubu made the observation at the 3rd Annual General Meeting of the Wa Workers Co-operative Credit Union in Wa on Saturday.

The event was on the theme: “Credit Union key to individual growth and development” and it coincided with the inauguration of a new office building for the Union.

Alhaji Yakubu said credit union activities through education and training could lead to personal growth and economic development in Ghana.

He said by eliminating middlemen in their operations, co-operative credit unions were able to receive the gains that would otherwise have gone to the middlemen for distribution among their members.

Alhaji Yakubu said that could help raise the incomes of the members and enhance their standards of living.

He noted that for credit unions to be competitive, they needed “to combine effective product and service differentiation with low cost operation.”

Alhaji Yakubu advised credit unions to introduce new products and services as were being provided by the formal banking institutions, to attract new members and to retain the existing ones.

Mr. Imoro Mahama, Chairman of Board of Directors of the Union, said membership of the Union had increased from 1,258 in 2010 to 1,676 in 2012, representing 25 per cent, while its assets also rose from 300,859.00 Ghana Cedis to 820,171.88 Ghana Cedis as at October 31st 2011.

He said the the Union has invested with Central Finance Facility, Golden Jubilee Bond, Kasoa Project and Gold Coast Security among others, and opened its common bond to all workers and women groups for micro-financing.

Mr Mahama said Youth Saving Clubs had been established at Wa Technical Institute and Wa Senior High School to encourage students to cultivate the habit of saving.

He said the Wa Workers Co-operative Credit Union provided 219,718.00 Ghana Cedis as financial assistance to 156 beneficiaries in 2010, and in 2011, 199 beneficiaries had a total of 477,000.00 Ghana Cedis as support.

Mr Mahama said the failure by some beneficiaries to repay back loans and the high withdrawals of savings were challenges facing the Union.**