History of PWD Co-operative Credit Union
The Formative Years
The P.W.D Cooperative Credit union’s membership and history is based on a common bond, a linkage shared by public servants as savers and borrowers who belong to the Ministry of Transport Works and Housing community. The Credit Union was incorporated in 1949 under the Industrial and Provident Societies Law; subsequently, converting itself into a registered society under the Co-operative Societies Law by notice in the Jamaica Gazette dated October 25, 1951.
The founding ‘father’ of the Credit Union Mr Dudley M. Forrester played an integral role in the formation out of the need for employees of the Public Works Department (PWD) to be more financially independent and satisfy their financial needs, especially those at the lower level of employment.
The PWD (formerly Public Works Department) Co-operative Credit Union Limited was originally located on the Hagley Park Road, where St. Andrew Parish car park now exists. In 1951 it was moved to its current 147 Maxfield Avenue home. Its basis for origin is not uncommon with that of other credit union unions formed during the same period. The credit union met the needs civil servants seeking loans at lower interest rates than those offered by private financial businesses at the time. As such, its purpose is primarily to promote thrift among its members by encouraging them to save part of their earnings regularly, also to make loans to them at reasonable rates of interest for provident and productive purposes.
In the mid-1970’s the name was changed from Public Works Department Credit Union to PWD Cooperative Credit Union Ltd as the institution now represents more than just employees of the Public Works Department but include family members.
The PWD Credit Union’s membership consists of employees of the Ministry of Transport and Works and its Agencies along with ex-employees of the former public works department and bona fide cooperatives throughout the island. Immediate relatives of existing members also form part of the current total. The credit union currently has over 1700 members and is one of the oldest credit unions in Jamaica today. The growth of the society has been steady. Business transactions commenced on the 7th of January 1949 with 44 members whose share capital totaled £178 ($J 29,543.57), while 20 years later there were 158 members with a total share capital of $J418,000.00
Over the next sixty-five years the PWD credit union has managed to keep interest rates at the permissible maximum on unpaid balances. Subject to a few exceptions all loan to members up to 60 years of age are insured against disability and death and loans to members up to 70 years of age insured against death. The institution has grown over the past decades from providing basic financial services to: offering financial counseling, awarding seven 5-year scholarships and sponsoring national activities such as Road Safety Awareness. Promoting wellness and a healthy lifestyle among members is also a priority benefit that has been introduced.
Today the credit union has approximately, ten staff and a volunteer pool of 29. The credit union’s existence and development as a financial institution has been recognized by the JCIA, CUNA Mutual Insurance and the Jamaica Cooperative Credit Union League. The most recent award came in 2012 when PWD was the Runner up small credit union of the year. 2012 Also saw the improvement the information system infrastructure (CUMIS) of the credit union to creating a more reliable system to facilitate real time processing of member s transactions. A website is now completed to keep members more informed about new offerings and benefits.