Trinidad and Tobago government launches emergency loan facility for credit unions

The sector will receive TT$100m to provide loans to their members at favourable interest rates

Credit unions in Trinidad and Tobago will receive TT$100m (£11.9m) in funding to help their members through the Covid-19 pandemic.

The new Liquidity Support Programme will provide loan facilities to individuals and small businesses, which make up the membership of credit unions in Trinidad and Tobago.

The agreement was officially signed on 27 April by minister of finance Colm Imbert, and the credit union movement, represented by vice president of the Central Finance Facility (CFF), Lyndon Byer, and president of the Cooperative Credit Union League of Trinidad and Tobago, Joseph Remy.

Individuals and businesses that qualify will receive loans from credit unions, which they will gave to repay within 12 months of the end of the affected period. The loans will be offered at a reduced interest rate of 50% of the existing credit union interest rate, from 12% to 6%.

“The Central Finance Facility reaffirms its commitment to supporting the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago through these trying times and assures that it will guide the movement in proactively responding to the needs of its members,” CFF said in a statement.

The Trinidad and Tobago government has appointed a committee to deal with restarting the country’s economy post Covid-19. The president of the Central Finance Facility (CFF), Letitia Telesford, has recently called on leaders within the co-operative sector to contribute to the debate around the country’s economy and share their recommendations with the commission, which does not include co-operative representatives.

Co-ops and credit unions have more than 500,000 members across the country.