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Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Donovan Stanberry, has underscored the role of the National People’s Co-operative Bank of Jamaica (NPCB), in providing economic stability in rural communities.
Delivering the keynote address at the Bank’s Annual General Meeting on Wednesday (May 19), at the Kendal Conference Centre, Manchester, he noted that the institution once provided core guidance in rural Jamaica, and if it re-adopts much of what it did to develop rural communities, the entire economy will feel its presence.
“It has to be that figure of consolidation in the rural society, which people see as a place that they can go to not only get loans, but also a multiplicity of other services that are critical to rural life,” Mr. Stanberry said.
He added that any institution with over 30 branches which can command savings of $1.6 billion is a significant force to be reckoned with.
The Bank’s corporate office is located in Mandeville. It has an active membership of over 150,000, a staff compliment of 200 and an islandwide branch network of 37 in 13 parishes.
The majority of the institution’s members are small farmers who receive approximately 90 per cent of the loans and make up 70 per cent of the active savers.
Most of the funds for lending to agriculture are borrowed from the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), the current portfolio being $1.1 billion.