By Benjamin Flowers, Staff Reporter
Several credit unions completed a three-day strategic marketing workshop at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel on Sunday.
The workshop, hosted by the Belize Rural/Finance Development Project and facilitated by the Trinidad and Tobago-based consultancy firm, Gbest Company Limited, was geared towards setting goals for the credit unions to achieve by 2030.
Virgil Patrick, managing director of Gbest, explained that during the workshop the participating credit unions discussed concepts such as strategic marketing in the context of penetrating youth markets, as well setting performance targets and evaluation performance.
“We asked the credit unions where do we want to place the credit union movement in the financial landscape now and in the future,” Patrick said. “Participants were asked to think about what financial services would likely be needed by Belize’s youth as they become the bulk of the society in 2030, and how the unions can best position themselves to provide those services”, he added.
Lorn Solis, program manager of the rural finance development project said that the program has three components: capacity building, which is focused on strengthening the credit unions; incentive funding, where the program matches every dollar a person invests in the credit union; and the rural credit fund, which is set up to give credit unions more money to lend to borrowers.
Solis added that the seven-year program, now in its fifth year, is supported by the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Government of Belize. So far the program has matched over $200,000 in incentives and has disbursed over $2 million to credit unions from the rural development fund.