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Peak body for credit unions in the Pacific provides technical assistance to Palau

By Mr. Francis P. Remengesau, Belau Community Credit Union Treasurer

“Balau Community Credit Union has already witnessed significant success and achievements as a result of utilizing OCCUL Technical Assistance through the expertise and professional acumen of Mr Kumar and looks forward to working more with OCCUL in the future”.

In the first half of 2012, Belau Community Credit Union (BCCU) was still in the process of establishing its leadership and fulfilling all the requirements to becoming a credit union in Palau, when information on the Oceania Confederation of Credit Union Leagues (OCCUL) reached its board; a keen interest developed at that time and serious consideration was given to the possibility of joining OCCUL. This became reality shortly after.

The BCCU Board realised very early that OCCUL technical assistance was going to be needed to provide relevant guidance and direction in building a firm foundation for the credit union. The Board acknowledged that OCCUL Technical Assistance was the key which would ultimately play an integral role in BCCU’s future growth.

The arrival of OCCUL Technical Manager, Amal Kumar in June 2013 was a blessing. The Credit Union Act creation was a major task that Amal undertook during his visit, including the review of cash flow and creation of a short loan policy. As a result of his visit in 2013, BCCU began to have decent cash flow and a better outlook on loan products. A draft Credit Union Act that Amal was instrumental in formulating is now being used by the Financial Commissions Institution as a blueprint to furthering the establishment of the Palau Credit Union Act, which will see its completion in August 2014.

During his second visit to Palau from 12th to 29th May 2014, the BCCU Board in consultation with Amal looked at Debt Management/Credit Control by reviewing and re-setting credit limits, loosening up underwriting policies, and creating additional loan products. Amal also provided direction on creating an audit committee, educating on auditing steps and requirements, and explained how audits are conducted. A general overview of Governance that covered duties and responsibilities of Credit Committee and the Board in general was also presented. While the creation of Mutual Funds or savings accounts products was also expressed as a priority task to be implemented by the Board, Mr. Kumar recommended that it would be best to wait until the credit Union Act is in place, to which the Board concurred.

The BCCU Board of Directors is appreciative of its membership to OCCUL. This affiliation allows upcoming credit unions such as BCCU to access the Technical Assistance service provided by OCCUL in order to aid, develop, and guide member credit unions within the Pacific Region and beyond. Belau Community Credit Union is fortunate to be an Associate Member of OCCUL and will continue this relationship into the future.

BCCU has already witnessed significant success and achievements as a result of utilizing OCCUL Technical Assistance through the expertise and professional acumen of Mr Kumar and looks forward to working more with OCCUL in the future.

BCCU is hopeful that within a short time ahead a greater number of credit unions will have the capacity to offer financial contributions to OCCUL related activities such as the Pacific Credit Union Technical Congress, or in kind assistance if needed for the advancement and improvement of other credit unions in the Pacific

OCCUL will be running its annual Pacific Credit Union Technical Congress from 5-7 November 2014 to attend the Congress as a speaker or sponsor a participant to attend, please contact Luse Tamani, Secretariat Officer, OCCUL.

M: +679 9005675 |
E: luse.tamani@cufa.org.au

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