History of Montego Co-operative Credit Union Limited (Montego)

Montego Co-operative Credit Union’s story is one of challenges and triumphs; one of dedication and determination. It is a story that speaks of an odyssey sprinkled with landmarks of courage, personal sacrifice, industry and an unshakeable commitment to succeed.

Montego was formed by the amalgamation of St James and St Paul’s Credit Unions and was registered on the 31st December 1969. The move was intended to consolidate and fortify both co-operatives which were ‘limping along’ as single entities. Despite the challenges, by utilizing the wisdom in hindsight, we have been able to capitalize on our gains and strengths and overcome losses and weaknesses.

The Credit Union, at the time, operated out of the St Paul’s United Church Hall on a weekly, four-hour basis. At our first Annual General Meeting (AGM) in 1970, after starting with eight members, we recorded a membership of 181. By 1973 we realized a princely profit of $98 after paying operating expenses. For the first several years the Credit Union operated with a manual system which proved tedious. With the advent of more advanced technology, we purchased our first computer system in 1987, an Astra 270 computer system, complete with hardware and software.

Today, we have made strides, not only in technology but in our operations. We are, now, housed in our own property at 6 Sam Sharpe Square, the hub of Montego Bay’s commercial centre. In response to our members’ needs and their request to improve our physical facilities for a more convenient place to transact business; we have extended our operations to another of our premises at 20 Church Street. This location accommodates our Credit and Finance Departments. Teller transactions are also facilitated at Church Street.

Montego has grown dramatically over the years with our membership now standing at approximately 32,000, total asset of over $2.85 billion, loan portfolio of over $1.59 billion and savings of $2.24 billion. Our growth is also reflected in the wide array of products and services offered.

We have been involved in community outreach programmes and have been awarding the Bayley-Hay Scholarship, in honour of one of our pioneers, the late Josiah Bayley-Hay for over 22 years. To-date, Montego has awarded seventy three (73) scholarships and bursaries to students in Western Jamaica to the tune of $3.885m. The scholarship is awarded each year to two students who have been successful in the GSAT examination. However, the parents must be active Credit Union members for at least one year, to be eligible to apply for the scholarship. The programme maintains a total of ten scholarships annually.

The twenty second renewal of our Schools' Academic Championship Quiz was held on April 30 2014. The Quiz involves schools from the primary/preparatory and all age/junior high levels in the parishes of St. James, Hanover and Westmoreland. The final took place on the 22nd June 2014, at the University of the West Indies Western Campus, Montego Bay. For the third consecutive year, Chetwood Memorial Primary won the Championship Trophy. Second place went to new entrant DMP Academy and the third place winners were Flanker Primary.

We have also established partnership with our members’ children in schools by way of a savings programme named Treasure Chest. This is an incentive based saving programme where children are rewarded for their consistent saving pattern. A welcome package is also given to each child at the opening of an account. Awards include; birthday surprises, bursaries, champion saver of the quarter. Parents who are members of Montego can access loans, using the accumulated Treasure Chest funds as security for school fees or any school related expenses.

 

 

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