The largest credit union in South Asia, The Christian Cooperative Credit Union Ltd, Dhaka, was founded in 1955 by Rev Fr Charles J Young CSC in Lokhhibazar. The union aims to provide the Christian community with affordable services, helping them to achieve financial viability, operational efficiency, competitive advantage, and good co-operative governance. The Daily Star has formed a partnership with the organisation, under which 100 copies of the newspaper are provided to them every day, for free.
“We began with 50 members and with a capital of only BDT 25. The organisation completed 64 years in July 2019. Today, it has 16 branches with 40,000 members and a net worth of BDT 750 crores,” said the president, Babu M Gomes. The union actively works for the bright future of the youth in the Christian community, providing them with a wide range of facilities, including home loans and funeral support services. Christians who belong to the Garo community are highly benefitted from these services.
The union also consists of a daycare centre, which follows the Singaporean schooling system, where working parents can drop their children off. They further provide loans to students of their community for higher education, starting from BDT 1,000,000 for local universities up to BDT 4,000,000 for foreign universities. In addition, they offer part-time job opportunities under their internship programme. Currently, 50 students are participating in the programme. They also provide medical insurance and access to a gymnasium for their members.
The union also plans to open their own hospital, called Divine Mercy General Hospital, for all of their members. It will be the first hospital in Bangladesh to be built by a cooperative. Besides, the union’s own medical college is set to open soon. They also have an ambulance centre, a resource and training centre and two girls’ hostels, where close to 200 women are currently living.
The organisation also runs their own school, with around 400 students, along with a cultural academy, with around 200 students taking part in different programmes and workshops. They plan to initiate a nursing institute for young people. The have also partnered up with Nitol Tata to train their members in driving, given that nowadays, the demand for drivers is high. They also aim to empower women, especially those who belong to the Garo community. They plan to open a ten-storied salon training centre in Norda, to equip women with the skills that are needed to be employed at beauty salons.