What is a Credit Union?
A credit union is a non-profit, member-focused, financial body corporate offering deposit accounts, low-interest loans and other financial services to its members. The objectives of a Credit Union are defined in section 16 of the Credit Unions Ordinance 1960 (‘the Ordinance’) as being:
- to promote thrift amongst its members;
- to receive the savings of its members either as payment on shares or as deposits; and
- to make loans to members exclusively for provident or productive purposes.
A Credit Union must have at least 12 members residing in Samoa whose membership is defined in section 39(1) of the Ordinance to be “limited to groups of persons having a common bond of occupation or association or to groups of persons residing within a well defined neighborhood, community, rural or urban district.”
Loans in the amount above a certain level will require the provision of security. This threshold level is determined by the Registrar. In accordance with section 29(1)(2) of the Ordinance, the Credit Committee determines the security and guarantors for each loans as well as the conditions of repayment.
In accordance with section 11(1) of the Ordinance, the Registrar will prepare and submit for approval by the Head of State by-laws for each Credit Union, which binds each Union and its members.
The registration fee for a Credit Union is $90.00 and a certificate of incorporation will be issued upon approval.
To register a Credit Union the following documents must be submitted to the Registrar:
- Memorandum of Association (Schedule 1) – to be signed by all members in the presence of a witness and accompanied by an affidavit to verify the signatures (Section 5(1) refers). The memorandum should include:
- the name of the Credit Union;
- the signatures of each member;
- the address of the Credit Union’s registered office;
- the par value of its shares; and,
- the name and address of each subscriber (member) and the number of shares allocated to them.
- Annual Return (audited statement of the receipts and expenditures, assets and liabilities of the Credit Union) is due no later than 2 months after the end of each financial year. The current fee for filing a Credit Union’s Annual Return is $30.00.