Puerto Rico’s credit union reported a 9.5% growth in assets between March and June, at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, drawing 10,000 new members and retaining some 3,000 employees, Eddie Alicea-Sáez, president of the Credit Union Executives Association confirmed.
The association known as ASEC in Spanish stated that participating credit unions accrued an additional $850 million in deposits between March and June, increasing assets to $9.7 billion, according to the most recent data from the Public Corporation for the Supervision and Insurance of Puerto Rico Cooperatives, known as COSSEC in Spanish.
The growth happened, in part, because unbanked citizens preferred savings and credit unions to deposit the economic assistance offered by the government, he said.
“The credibility and reliability of our cooperatives succeeded in inserting a large sector of the population into the financial system that had excluded themselves from participating as owner partners,” he said, adding Puerto Rico’s credit unions have more than 1 million members and depositors.
Despite the emergency provoked by the COVID-19 pandemic, 90% of Puerto Rico’s credit unions are operating on their regular schedule, Alicea-Sáez said.
“Remote work, the adaptation of schedules, a revision of duties and the granting of temporary incentives, allowed the operational continuity of the system, ensuring the well-being of its employees and partners,” he said.
ASEC Board Member Aurelio Arroyo said the island’s cooperative system showed “great capacity by authorizing the deferral of payments to partners and clients in the emergency period, precisely due to its financial strength.”