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The National Chairman of Credit Unions Association (CUA) Ghana, Mr Charles Yaw Assua-Yeboah, has cautioned members of the association to beware of the proliferation of financial institutions in the country, especially charlatan mircofinance companies.

He said those institutions were baiting unsuspecting customers with juicy interest rates only to escape after they had taken huge sums of money from their clients.

In the end, customers lost all that they have saved over the years, he observed, adding that, ‘‘People must be told in no uncertain terms that the credit union movement was tried and tested and had as well withstood the test of time.’’

Mr Assua-Yeboah, who was addressing the national celebration of the 2015 International Credit Union Day at Takoradi in the Western Region, said members should, therefore, be careful of those institutions in the financial market and be guided by the wise saying, ‘‘To be forewarned is to be forearmed.’’

Making reference to the theme, ‘‘People Helping People,’’ chosen by the World Council of Credit Unions (WCOCCU) for the occasion, the national chairman said it was appropriate and heartwarming that the movement had impacted favourably on the lives of people and the development of the country.

‘‘When we talk about people helping people, some of the positive yardsticks, with which the movement can be measured are: service to members, social responsibility, non-discrimination, open and voluntary membership, building financial stability, democratic control and on-going education, among other interventions,’’ he explained.

Mr Assua-Yeboah said the credit union Legislative Instrument (L.I.) had reached an advanced stage and that the Minister of Finance would soon lay it before Parliament for consideration.

He subsequently expressed the hope that the passage of the L.I would enable members to achieve their aims.

The Acting General Manager- CUA, Mr Stephen Asiamah said there were more than 100 million affiliated countries to the WOCCU with 100 million members belonging to more than 36, 000 credit unions.

He indicated that it was unusual to find a country where there were no credit unions or one in which there were no first steps being taken to establish the movement or a relationship with the government.

True to the philosophy of people helping people, he said many credit unions in the region charged an average of 19.5 per cent as interest rate at a time that the Bank of Ghana (BoG) base rate was 25 per cent and the average minimum loan rate for many banks was 35 per cent.

Nana Kobina Nketsia, the Omanhene of Essikado Traditional Area, noted that, actual and sustainable development could only be achieved through internally generated funds, adding that, ‘‘Susu’’ savings had been the culture of Ghanaians even before the 1940s.

He urged the members to remain united forever in order to build a stronger movement, saying that ‘‘Political leaders tend to divide their people but your union always seeks to bring everybody on board all the time.’’
Source: Daily Graphic

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