Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance K. Peter Turnquest said that based on what he has seen over the years, he can affirm that the credit union concept is a safe and practical way for Bahamians to explore financial possibilities.
According to Turnquest, one of the most important choices a person can make is finding the right institution in which to invest. He said the various financial institutions available offer different opportunities for consumers and choosing the right one is critical to how an individual positions himself financially throughout his lifetime.
His remarks came during his keynote address at the opening of the Grand Bahama Co-operative Credit Union’s new sub-office in Port Lucaya on Wednesday evening.
The opening of the office, the minister said, was a signal of the growth of the Co-operative Credit Union over the years.
“What I appreciate about credit unions is that they were created to benefit people,” said Turnquest.
“They are non-profit organizations that focus on the financial success of their members, rather than profits. This means that the money earned is directly invested back into the membership. Talk about getting more for your money!
“Co-operative Credit Unions hold a rich tradition throughout our Bahamas and worldwide. By all accounts, the Grand Bahama Co-operative Credit Union continues to be a successful shining light within that tradition. The stories of retired workers who are still able to live comfortably because of their savings and financial planning, the family cars, children’s school fees, home ownership, vacations, health care emergency loans and general financial security issues, are all attached to what this credit union has been able to offer over these many years.”
Turnquest said that salaries are in a constant juggle of needs versus wants, as people seek to determine what is best for themselves and their families. He pointed out that in an attempt to free themselves from financial restrictions, many people go further into debt by acquiring loans that they may not be able to afford.
Government employees, in particular, he added, are the most targeted group of people for these loans.
“The unfortunate need many of us have to out-do the neighbour or to be the envy of our friends, causes many Bahamians to accept loans for lavish vacations, top-of-the-line vehicles, a new front room set, even private education,” said Turnquest.
“While such spending is good for the economy overall, I think we can all agree that during this time, the greatest demand on our spending should be to employ disciplined budgeting and prioritizing our medium and long-term financial decision making.
“I encourage residents to take advantage of this community-centric organization. This is what credit unions are about, helping communities grow.”
Turnquest said he was proud to note Grand Bahama’s steady increase in development, and that the opening of the Co-operative Credit Union’s new sub-office was one of several business additions over the past few months adding to Grand Bahama’s economic growth organically.
This article was written by ANDREW COAKLEY, Bahamas Information Services.