|Following popular demand from its members, the Insurance Association of The Gambia on Thursday, converged at Laico Atlantic Hotel in Banjul, as part of its Annual General Meeting, to discuss on the formation of a cooperative credit union for insurance practitioners who are members of the association.|
Pic: Mr. Henry Jawo, Secretary General, IAG
The secretary general of the IAG, Mr Henry Jawo, said most of the members of the IAG were asking if the association could set-up a cooperative credit union. “Since it is a demand from the membership, we thought we could spare sometime of our AGM to invite an official from the National Association of Cooperative Credit Unions of The Gambia (NACCUG), the apex body for credit unions in the country, to come and guide us; to tell us what are the requirements to start a credit union for our members.”
Credit union is a financial co-operative owned and controlled by its members, for its members. Credit unions exist to serve the financial needs of their members, on a not-for-profit basis, and to retain members’ savings in their community for the benefit of all the members.
In his PowerPoint presentation, Mr Hamey B. Jawara, Programme Manager of NACCUG, explained that credit union helps its members to achieve financial independence through regular savings, and fair and affordable access to loans.
He said credit union membership fee varies from credit union to credit union depending on choice and affordability of its members.
Advantages of being a credit union member, Mr Jawara said include members own the organization that takes care of your money, it also gives members financial security, and also fair and affordable access to loans.
NACCUG programme manager said: “Each member holds minimum of two shares in a credit union. The share value varies from credit union to credit union with a minimum value of D25.00 (twenty-five dalasis) per share. Each shareholder is eligible for a dividend at the end of the financial year from the credit union’s accumulated surplus.
He told the insurance practitioners that dividends are appropriated from surplus after appropriation of all necessary reserves. The rate of dividend can vary from credit union to credit union.
Credit union operating principles are founded in the philosophy of cooperation and its central values are equality, equity and mutual self-help.
Credit union members enjoy equal rights to vote (one member, one vote) and participate in decisions affecting the credit union, without regard to the amount of savings or deposits or the volume of business.
Credit union is autonomous, within the framework of law and regulation, recognizing the credit union as a cooperative enterprise serving and controlled by its members.
To encourage thrift through savings and thus to provide loans and other services, a fair rate of interest is paid on savings and deposits, within the capability of the credit union.
After Mr Jawara’s presentation, IAG secretary general, Mr Jawo said now the IAG is going to decide at their next executive committee meeting and decision will be taken there as to whether the association should formed one or not. “But the interest that has generated after the presentation, I believe that definitely we will be forming one in not too distant future,” Mr Jawo explained.