21 June 2010

Bermuda Min. of Finance Presents Credit Union Act

Press Release

The Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Paula A. Cox, JP, MP, tabled, the Credit Union Act 2010, in the House of Assembly this morning.

Today Minister Cox said, “I am pleased to have tabled the Credit Union Act 2010 in the House of Assembly. This legislation is extremely important in that it will modernise and strengthen Bermuda’s regulatory framework for credit unions.“This framework will provide an appropriate set of financial management disciplines for the credit union to maintain, while also allowing the creation of shareholder wealth for its members.“

In summary, the new legislation will transfer complete regulatory and supervisory responsibilities for credit unions to the Bermuda Monetary Authority and this is consistent with international standards which maintain that the agency that regulates financial institutions should supervise credit unions.”

Minister Cox noted that “unlike other financial institutions, credit unions work as a cooperative, valuing volunteerism, co-operation and member participation”. And she advised that in developing the new regulatory framework, the Ministry of Finance and the Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA) ensured that the unique characteristics of credit unions were not lost.

Accordingly, the legislation encapsulates the principles contained within the Model Law produced by the World Council of Credit Unions and the International Credit Union Safety and Soundness Principles.

Minister Cox went on to say, “The Credit Unions Act 2010 involved significant consultation and consensus building between the Ministry of Finance, Bermuda Monetary Authority and the BIU Members Credit Union, Bermuda’s only credit union, and I would like to thank those parties for their sterling effort in bringing this Act to fruition. I am pleased to note that the BIU Members Credit Union has been a full participant in this process and their comments and views have been fully considered.”

Minister Cox noted the importance of credit unions in Bermuda and worldwide as they offer members much more than financial services. They provide members the opportunity to own their own financial institution and help them create opportunities such as starting small businesses, building family homes and educating their children. In some countries, members encounter their first taste of democratic decision making through their credit unions.

Today, the Bermuda Industrial Union Members’ Credit Union President, Bro. Graham Nesbitt, expressed “a very great sense of satisfaction” at the commissioning of the new Credit Union Bill. He further added that he is “very gratified” that it truly reflects the ‘People’s Credit Union Bill’, due to the unrelenting efforts of the Credit Union over the past several years.

He said that the Bill would be for the further uplift of the members. The Credit Union President added that much appreciation is also being shown to the World Council of Credit Unions, whose contribution showed that although the Bill is not culture-bound, it reaches to the core needs of every co-operator within a global village.

He said that the new Bill with its nuances will fit the needs of the members in Bermuda and was confident that members will begin to feel the positive impact of this Bill in a tangible way.

And in response to the Credit Union developments in the House, Jeremy Cox, CEO of the BMA said, “The Authority is very pleased that the work initiated last year to update the legislative and policy framework for credit unions in Bermuda has been completed. Upon approval of the legislation the Authority will implement the enhanced framework and will have direct responsibility for the regulation and supervision of any credit union established in Bermuda.

“We appreciate the time that the Board and management of the BIU Credit Union devoted to the extensive consultation process involved in this effort, as well as the support of our colleagues at the Ministry of Finance. The process has been both collaborative and productive, resulting in a framework that reflects high standards and best practice internationally for the supervision of credit unions, while being appropriate for the nature of the Bermuda market and the ultimate protection of depositors here.”

Minister Cox said she looked forward to the passage of this important legislation in the House and has no doubt that this new regulatory regime for credit unions will enhance public confidence in the BIU Members Credit Union and any other credit unions which may be formed. Ultimately, she said this legislation should assist in ensuring higher membership, savings growth and stronger financial performance of credit unions.