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26.01.2009 Business & Finance

Credit Unions urged to strategise to stay in business

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Mr Joseph Kwabena Onyinah, Ashanti Regional Director of Education, has asked boards and managements of Credit Unions (CUs) to design innovative strategies that would make them more relevant and to remain in business.

He said with the influx of large numbers of non-banking financial institutions coupled with infiltration of commercial bank into the micro- financial sector, CUs needed to develop innovative ways to sustain their membership and to stay in business.

Mr Onyinah was speaking under the theme; “sustaining Credit Unions amidst micro financing schemes” at the 38th annual general meeting of the Saint Peter's Cooperative Credit Union in Kumasi on Sunday.

He said currently there were about 45 registered non-banks and micro- financial institutions operating in Ghana, while the commercial banks were also moving into the micro-finance sector which was the base of the CUs, adding that, this situation posed a serious challenge to the sustainability and growth of CUs.

Mr Onyinah said CUs could sustain themselves by introducing flexibility in their operations, especially in the areas of credit facilities and granting of loans to encourage members to borrow from them instead of borrowing from outside.

They could also employ dedicated staff and motivate them to stay for long while at the same time strengthening management systems in order to prevent leakages and promote efficiency and transparency at all times.

Mr Onyinah also urged management to share good financial practices and establish research departments to develop new products that would help to attract and sustain new members.

He called on members of the Union to work hard to sell it to others to ensure its sustainability.

Mr Dominic S.O Annan, President of the Union, said the Union's expenditure exceeded its income by 16,285.07 Ghana cedis while the interest received on loans came to 475,830.69 Ghana cedis instead of 921,102.97 Ghana cedis targeted.

He, however, said the Union's total assets increased from 4,410,113 Ghana cedis, in 2007 to 4,800,917 Ghana cedis, representing an increase of 8.86 per cent in 2008, while liquid investment increased from 877,591 Ghana cedis in 2007 to 985,870 Ghana cedis representing 12.33 per cent.

Mr Annan said the Board could not, however, approve any dividend to be paid to members in view of the Union's inability to make profit.

He expressed concern about the recalcitrant loan defaulters and said court action would soon be instituted against them to collect all outstanding debts.

Mr Annan called on members to encourage dormant and inactive ones to rejoin the Union in order to sustain and promote its growth.

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