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Dec 8, 2015

HRCU Opens New Branch In Independence

The Holy Redeemer Credit Union is the largest credit union in Belize.  With over fifty-one thousand member-owners the HRCU ranks third in the region with assets amounting to a little over half-a-billion dollars.  Over the weekend the lending institution opened a new branch in the south which means that residents of the Stann Creek and Toledo Districts won’t have to travel far to do their business.  In fact, they’ll be traveling to Independence Village to make their transactions.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano takes a look at the new branch office and its origins with Betty Zabaneh.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Since opening its doors to the public seventy-one years ago, the Holy Redeemer Credit Union has been based solely in Belize City.  The lending institution is committed to providing a high level of service to over fifty-one thousand members.  That means expanding its reach to another part of the country.  Over the weekend a second branch of HRCU was inaugurated in Independence.

 

Elizabeth Zabaneh

Elizabeth Zabaneh, Director, Holy Redeemer Credit Union

“Having the branch here is certainly going to be a step up.  I have enjoyed doing this, as I said, I grew up with this.  I was always in the credit union movement with Jane and Henry but I think technology has passed us by and all this new ways of doing things.  Also there are new rules and regulations now involving the credit unions, the little old ways how we used to do things, you know, doesn’t.  It’s not the same way.  I hope that the credit union will never just become a big bank, instead of being from one to one with the people.”

 

Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Zabaneh has been instrumental in bringing HRCU to southern Belize.  Her passion for many years, the business of financial services has been dear to her.  Much of this is credited to her parents Jane and Henry Usher.

 

Elizabeth Zabaneh

“I think mom deserves this.  As Tony said, I think she was behind all this and I was so happy when they allowed me to, you know, to help them in the credit union work and I read in the report that some people have a problem with that but she said something that was very, very true and I keep thinking about it all the time, that when God wanted to save the world he sent his son.  So she surrounds herself with the people that know her, that know what she wants and so her children will carry on her legacy.”

 

With assets of approximately five hundred and twenty-two point five million dollars, expanding to the south simply means ease of access, as well as attracting a wider membership.  According to Antonio Zabaneh, the credit union movement has been helpful in establishing residents of Independence with homes, businesses, education and other related expenses.

 

Antonio Zabaneh

Antonio Zabaneh, Member, Holy Redeemer Credit Union

“For everyone of us here who have been members and have kept on being members know that it’s by saving and giving that you get back.  The Holy Redeemer Credit Union here has helped; I must say at least eighty percent of our villagers in building themselves to what they are.”

 

Miri Pearl Rivas

Miri Pearl Rivas, Resident, Independence Village

“Well for me, the Holy Redeemer Credit Union has been of great help—not only financially, but in any other means—especially I am a mother and I have two kids. So far, the credit union has provided a scholarship for my daughter since infant one and she is in standard one at the moment and three years consecutively, she has been receiving scholarship from the credit union. So that is one of the big advantage that I do really appreciate from them.”

 

Resident, Independence Village

“I can always say I can just go to Miss Zab by our credit union office and I can be assured that I will get whatever I need. Whatever are my things that I need in my home, I go there and I have what I need. So I just thank God that we have a credit union here that I can look forward to and never being let down.”

 

In Independence alone there are three thousand, nine hundred and fifty members with an overall savings portfolio of roughly eighteen million dollars.  Dr. Carol Babb sits on HRCU’s credit committee.  Besides being the largest credit union in the country, HRCU is among the top three institutions within the region in terms of assets.  The launch of the new branch is an opportunity for young members to save and borrow money prudently.

 

Carol Babb

Carol Babb, Member, HRCU Credit Committee

“It’s an excellent opportunity for us to encourage our youths to save and to learn how to manage their money.  So opening this branch in the south is an easier way to make the credit union more accessible.  As Ms. Marion said, it’s very far travel all the way to Belize City, so I think with the opening of this branch we can get more young people to save and to borrow wisely.”

 

At an estimated cost of a little over one million dollars, including furnishings and equipment, the new building was designed by Thurton and Associates and constructed by Chris Hernandez.  During the grand opening of the HRCU Independence branch, members of the credit union had the opportunity to participate in a raffle. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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