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Former managers of St Francis Xavier Credit Union (SFXCU) lead protest in Corozal

Posted: Sunday, March 26, 2023. 5:09 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Two weeks after the Registrar of Credit Unions put St Francis Xavier Credit Union (SFXCU) into direct administration, the credit union’s ousted leadership took to the streets in Corozal Town.

Registrar and Governor of the Central Bank Kareem Michael, despite noting the general good standing of the institution’s finances, maintained that his appointment of Administrator Martin Marshalleck was required for the protection of equities and the interests of St Francis Xavier’s more than 32 thousand members – which makes it the second-largest credit union in Belize.

The argument of the former management, as explained by general manager Rafael Dominguez, is that despite their efforts to comply, the Bank wants more: “We are still in enhanced supervision, as a matter of fact, we have been complying with them on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Just in a short period of time when the new officers came into office, eight months I could say, we have been working diligently to try to comply as a normal institution with the many deficiencies that they might have found.”

Ex-chair of the Supervisory Committee Mayet Castillo laid the blame at the feet of the management ousted last year at the annual general meeting, saying the Bank had taken away a critical asset of the credit union more important money – autonomy: “I personally sent a list of anomalies to Central Bank before we came into office and at the end; they’re putting the whole brunt on us to do miracles. Why didn’t they demand from the previous board? Now that they see that our credit union has potential, they want to interfere; they know where they can get it. And including Central Bank that is immediately under the government, I think the government needs to think twice before interfering because this is the poor man’s bank – nobody else’s.”

The ex-managers also question who will be paying the administrator’s expenses – the Bank, or the credit union.

Dominguez says he has retained Senior Counsel Dean Barrow who plans to file a motion for judicial review of the Registrar’s decision: “That is very important, because we as the membership, need to know what is our right, we need to know what is actually taking place behind this witch hunt from the Central Bank of Belize.”


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