Eleuthera, Bahamas – In the first quarter of 2014, One Eleuthera Foundation (OEF) committed to support the establishment of a Cooperative Credit Union to assist with empowering residents of Eleuthera by promoting savings, shareholdings, financial services and counselling, and encouraging Eleutherans to become owners and operators of their own financial institution.A Shared Vision, a document outlining the possibilities for sustainable development on Eleuthera, speaks to the struggles Bahamians face in accessing funding”, he said.

“This in a historic moment for Eleutherans”, Mr Ingraham continued. 

In keeping with the motto of credit unions which is ‘People helping people to help themselves’, Mr Ingraham is hopeful about Eleuthera’s economic future and sees OECCU as an opportunity for Eleutherans to be more financially independent. 

“This is a chance not only to develop Eleuthera but for money made here to stay here”, he said. 

Mr Quinton Percentie, Cooperative Officer of the Department of Cooperative Development noted that Bahamians have an average savings of only $1,000. In credit unions that average savings increases by more than $7,500. 

After conducting elections Mr Percentie officially announced the officers elected to the Board of Directors, Credit Committee and Supervisory Committee. They are as follows.

Board of Directors:

Addison Cooper
Errol McPhee
George Bullard
Ian Carey
Juanita Pinder
Robyn Curry
Shaun Ingraham

Credit Committee:

Kenwood Cartwright
Rosena Strachan
Shaun Ingraham

Supervisory Committee:

Agatha Bethel
Cynthia Cartwright
Karen Crean 

Members of the public are encouraged by the established Credit Union and are looking forward to the hope it will provide Eleutherans. OECCU member Mr Richard Sands, for example, has never been a part of any credit union before, but coming out of his first AGM, his positive attitude and confidence in such institutions showed clearly through his excitement.

“The best thing is to be in a credit union than a commercial bank. One, you get less interest on loans and number two, there is a lot of red tape in the banks. So today what I heard, this is a positive thing for Eleuthera.”, he said. 

“We are happy to know that this is here on Eleuthera because it’s for the poor person, to the middle class, and the rich”, he continued. 

Evangelists Shirley Burrows also gave her input, acknowledging the importance of OECCU. 

“This is for the real strugglers”, Evangelist Burrows said. 

To those who have yet to join, Mr Sands had this to say, “Man you better come today and sign up. To me this is the best thing since sliced bread.” 

In order to become a member of One Eleuthera Cooperative Credit Union persons must purchase 20 shares at $5 each, pay a registration fee of $10 and complete the relevant forms. The process is quick and easy. 

Persons interested in becoming members of One Eleuthera Cooperative Credit Union or seeking more information are asked to visit The South Eleuthera Mission building in Rock Sound or call 242.334.2948.

View photos from OECCU AGM here.