In-Brief

P.R. credit unions have 1M+ members, gov.’t regulator says

Puerto Rico’s credit unions have more than 1 million members, according to the latest financial and statistical quarterly report presented by the Public Corporation for the Supervision of Puerto Rico Cooperatives, or COSSEC for its initials in Spanish.

This achievement is part of the goals set by past Cooperative Development Commissioner, or CDCoop, Ivelisse Torres-Rivera, following the administration’s public policy.

Pedro Roldán, interim CEO of CDCoop, reported that the number of co-op members has increased since January 2017, which he cataloged as a “great achievement” after Hurricane María hit the island.

“This is indicative of the trust citizens have on cooperatives and this consolidates them as important entities when talking about economic development in Puerto Rico,” he said.

“In January 2017 the number of co-op members totaled 980,226 and in December of the same year, that figure increased to 988,086,” he said.

The latest report released this week, which collects data reported through December 2018, indicated that there are 1,014,388 member-owners distributed among 114 credit unions in Puerto Rico, Roldán said.

He attributed the jump to several initiatives, mentioning the work by CDCoop to boost cooperatives as a business model and by COSSEC to ensure the cooperative sector’s reliability.

He explained that these efforts were made in conjunction with COSSEC’s Board of Directors and employees of both agencies. Roldán also acknowledged the commitment shown by the CEOs of cooperatives and agility that sought to restore operations after the hurricane.

“They managed to meet the needs of its members and the community at large as no other financial institution. They were present and resolved the need for cash, and in many towns, they were the only financial institution open after the passage of the storm. Another important aspect is that cooperatives diversified the financial products they offer. That paid off,” he said.

The report also revealed that the loan portfolio reported by the industry increased by approximately $199 million and total assets reached $8.7 billion.

“This is money that cooperatives injected into the economy of Puerto Rico and helps the recovery,” said the executive.

Finally, he reported that the number of customers (non-members) is 289,774 and the number of co-op employees is 3,084.

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