Despite the severe economic crunch affecting Dominica, the region and the world, one financial institution has shown others how to survive and grow.

Dominica's major credit union, the National Co-operative Credit Union (NCCU), has added hundreds more members and millions in share capital and assets.

"The year 2022 was challenging and tremendously eventful for the Society as the National Co-operative Credit Union Limited (NCCU Ltd.) continued to demonstrate adaptability and resilience within a changing yet competitive financial and economic environment," said NCCU board president Euan James in the Board of Director's 2022 report.

James said the NCCU welcomed more than 1000 new members in 2022.

"The membership grew from 50,664 at the end of 2021 to 51,734 at the end of the year in review, an increase of 1,070 (2.11%)," James said. "The Member Share Capital grew to $6,696,450 as of December 31, 2022, from $6,416,000 at the end of December 2021. This reflected an increase of $280,450 (4.37%)".

In addition, the NCCU president said the institution's major money-earner continues to be the interests it derives from its multi-million dollar loan portfolio.

"The Society's overall loan portfolio increased from $426,698,679 at the end of 2021 to $456,770,621 at the end of 2022, an increase of $30,071,942 or 7.25%," James said. "This is a significant jump from the average increase of $5,817,087 experienced in the years 2020 and 2021".

NCCU was established on November 1, 2010, following the amalgamation of the Roseau, La Salette, St. Paul, Castle Bruce, St. David's, and Vielle Case Credit Unions.

When Sister Alicia De Tremmerie, a Belgian nun and the mother of credit unions in Dominica, gave birth to the movement in 1952, she started with just 133 members and a share capital of EC$1,891.

In 2022 the NCCU alone, with seven branches, has recorded assets of $740 million.

Some decline in some areas

However, not all were positive for the NCCU in 2022.

"Turbulent economic constraints have resulted in the Society recording a decline in Gross Revenue for 2022," wrote NCCU treasurer McDowell Paul. "Total revenue generated for 2022 was $36.2 million compared to $37.4 million in 2021, a net value decrease of $1.3 million resulting in $1.0 million below budget".

Paul added: "All major sources of revenue recorded a decrease over the past year, with interest received from investments contributing the largest variance of over nine hundred thousand ($900,000) dollars.

"Our investments, particularly in the banks, continue to yield very low-interest rates as all institutions try to manage their growing risk in a fluctuating market".

Nevertheless, Paul believes the NCCU is "well capitalized" at $740.5 million net worth and "this places it in a solid position to continue its mission of being the leading financial institution to enhance your quality of life".

NCCU members will hear the good news as well as the bad when the society meets for its 13th Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, June 27, 2023, from 5:00 pm, at the St. Alphonsus Parish Hall, Goodwill, Roseau, under the theme: "Facing The Future Together…Your Community Financial Partner."