By: Lamin B. Darboe
Information Officer, PMO
Gambia Civil Service Cooperative Credit Union (GCSCCU) like any other credit unions in the country or globally at large, do facilitate legitimate financial services such as deposits, and provide an array of other financial schemes as loan facilities. Thus, GCSCCU creates a socio-economic and financial security of its individual members wherein it provides them every avenue to save, as well as borrow from the Account at reasonable interest rates.
In this exclusive interview with the Manager, Gambia Civil Service Cooperative Credit Union Mrs. Awa Darboe, spoke to the Information Officer at the Personnel Management Office (PMO) about the Union’s roles and responsibilities to civil service reform and development.
She revealed that the Union’s current asset value stands at D35 million and he catalogued the Union’s current saving at the Bank are as follows: Savings Account: D14, 636,008 and current Account: D232, 144.
According to Mrs. Darboe, the Union’s esteemed members are from the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), adding that as at now, a total of 1,850 are members of the Union.
“GCSCCU is a member-oriented microfinance institution that unites civil servants through the pooling of resources together. These resources (funds) are managed by the union and then made available to the members at very reasonable and affordable rates and of course without delays or strict measures,” Mrs. Darboe explained.
She informed that the Union’s functions include and not limited to savings mobilization through direct deductions and deposits, disbursement of loans at reasonable interest rates, offering financial advice, but the Union’s main business function is to provide finances to their members.
Asked to give an account of percentage withdrawals made annually by their members, she said: “The withdrawal percentage differs from month to month likewise each year. During the year, we experience high and low withdrawal rates, and the peak is usually during festive periods such as Ramadan, Koriteh, Tobaski, Christmas, etc., and during school opening periods too. In the advent of Covid-19, we also witnessed high withdrawals due to the unforeseen circumstances that lead to members withdrawing their savings”.
GCSCCU boss proudly explained that the Union’s saving are encouraging. Members are trying to regularly save from their meagre salaries especially during the financial difficulties they are facing.
Quizzed as to what advice she will give to their members and those civil servants who are yet to join the Credit Union, she said: “Generally, savings are there to salvage individuals when the need arises and as we know, it is sometimes difficult to approach other individuals for financial aids be it your family members, bosses or even friends/colleagues. So, the best place to be in such situations is a financial institution. I am therefore recommending everyone to join the credit union family with the philosophy of members helping members”.