Nothing can be done for Mount Carmel Credit Union members
The Executive Director of the Belize Credit Union League (BCUL, Corrine Robinson Fuller met with several dozen members of the Mount Carmel Credit Union MCCU on Wednesday night of last week at the Cancha Marshalleck in Benque Viejo del Carmen to provide a status report. Given that the MCCU has been under the administration of BCUL since December 2006, the report was a timely one as the last meeting of this type was held in 2011.
Corrine Fuller told members that 1.3 million had been stolen from the Credit Union when its discovery was made in 2002. The embezzlement had proven to be too much and as a result it was only a matter of time that the MCCU would be closed down.
“The high delinquency, the high external debt, your credit union is insolvent and what insolvent means is that your credit union cannot pay its debt and it is also operating at a loss,” Corrine Fuller told MCCU members.
Other contributing factors to the failure of the MCCU in previous years was that “…members were getting loans , but they weren’t telling them that they need to sign a promissory note and they weren’t taking their land title and putting a mortgage on it and registering it at the Lands Department , so it was improper management that is why when some people who are delinquent we have to be taking them to court now because if those security were proper in place we could have gone through the regular channel of selling their property and getting the money…people were given loans based on character....thousands of dollars were given based on character,” she revealed to members.
There are a number of measures that Credit Unions members can take to avoid meeting a similar fate as that of the MCCU.
“The members when you come to Annual General Meetings, you should not accept dividends and that would be sufficient, you look on the financial statements, ask questions and interrogate these people that are managing your money; so you are right that it has been failure at different levels but that is it…but everybody who is a member of Mount Carmel Credit Union had the responsibility to ask questions as well,” Fuller explained.
Also, credit union members can insist that their credit union have a fidelity bond where the credit union will have to pay for that insurance if people in the credit union “…thief the money” and “so the insurance company would pay”, advised Corrine Fuller.
The Executive Director of the Belize Credit Union League also advised that a class action should be pursued. But for that to happen someone would have to lead, evidential statements made to the police on the monies stolen as well as a lawyer hired.
“If you are willing to do that then as I said we would support you as much as possible,” said Fuller.
For David Ruiz, a MCCU member and author, the revelations that were made in Benque last Wednesday were much and here he expresses himself in English and Spanish.
“There are interests right now that want to favor the death of this Credit Union, because inside there, there is evidence.. evidencia adentro que si se hace un estudio forensico muchos irian a la corte, a la carcel y hay muchos que le convienen que muera este credit union para que muera la evidencia.”
The Belize Credit Union League, which is based in Belize City, had been assisting Diany Guzman and staff of the current MCCU in an effort to take the credit union out of its troubled past, but despite the genuine efforts the MCCU was still struggling. Diany Guzman told the Guardian that she wanted to do more for the people of Benque but “…without the help of the members it is harder.”The Guardian