C&WJ Credit Union Charts the Digital Future | Company
Community & Workers of Jamaica Cooperative Credit Union, C&WJCCU, is looking to a digital future and is already transforming some services. At the same time, CEO Joyce West-Johnson pledges not to close any of the 21 branches.
“The only thing that is important to us is that we want to satisfy our members. We do not intend to close any of our branches. Digitization adds to what we already have. It’s not a replacement,” West-Johnson told the financial gleaner after the annual general meeting of the credit union.
C&WJCCU is the first and only credit union to list its deferred shares on the Jamaica Stock Exchange, making the community bank not only accountable to its members, but also to the market.
Credit unions had to issue deferred shares or increase membership shares in order to comply with Bank of Jamaica regulatory requirements.
During the meeting, West-Johnson told members that C&WJCCU had begun its digital transformation by expanding members’ online access to counter physical access limitations that had plagued businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
C&WJCCU also introduced its own debit card in conjunction with MasterCard, launched its own app and revamped the company’s website.
The next frontier will be the development of digital products to distribute to members.
“We will soon introduce mobile payments. I can’t say more about that right now, but it will be an area of particular interest,” West-Johnson said.
The 21 branches of the caisse are spread over nine parishes and are supplemented by a mobile unit deployed as needed and in operation two to three times a week.
“If one of our branches feels they want to be a little closer to a different set of customers, then they ask the mobile branch to set up in those locations and they determine which days they want them” , said the CEO.
“He goes to different places in different parishes to support local branches, depending on where he is needed,” she said.
C&WJCCU, in operation since 1961, has just over 136,000 members with assets of $21.28 billion. Its surplus for the fiscal year ending December 2021 was $259 million, down sharply from $418 million in 2020.
For the first quarter ended March 2022, the credit union reported profit of $28 million, up 45% from a year earlier.
West-Johnson, who took over from Carlton Barclay as CEO two and a half months ago on April 1, said the decline in the credit union’s surplus at the end of 2021 was no different from that achieved in the rest of the financial sector.
She added that in response to the slowdown in business, commercial banks, for example, have sought to increase fees, credit card revenue and foreign exchange to shore up their profits.
“Credit unions are not in this space. We decided not to charge our members a fee hike, so fees remained moderate,” West-Johnson said.