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St Vincent & the Grenadines

Domestic Non-Bank Sector

Cooperative Societies/CREDIT UNIONS

The business concept of Cooperatives was introduced to the St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the 1950s. The movement is members based and consist of financial cooperatives (Credit Unions) and non-financial cooperatives. Credit Unions are required to be registered with and are regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). These entities must adhere to the provision of the Cooperatives Societies Act of 2012 and regulations, along with legislations governing Anti-Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and the cross-border exchange of information.

Overtime Credit Unions became important stakeholder in the non-bank financial sector. The sectors’ growing asset base and socio-economic impact, enhanced by its core principles contributes positively to the stability of the domestic financial structure. At present the Sector is comprised of an Apex body and four Credit Unions, collectively serving more than two fifths of the population.

An Application for the Registration of a Credit Union must be made to the Financial Services Authority in the prescribed form.

Investment Guidelines for Credit Unions Sector effective 16 October 2017

Please click here for a complete, current list of Credit Unions


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Building Societies

Building Societies are non-bank financial institutions owned by its members. In St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the St. Vincent Building and Loan is the only registered building societies. Its core business relates to financial services, especially savings and mortgage lending. The St. Vincent Building and Loan Association was incorporated on July 4, 1941 and has served it approximately nineteen thousand members for approximately 76 yrs. It is one of oldest domestic financial institutions on the island.

Please click here for a complete, current list of Building Societies


Friendly Societies

A Friendly Society is a financial organization principally established to support beneficiaries when a member dies and encourages thrift. Funding for the Friendly Society operation and expenditure are maintained from member’s regular voluntary contributions.

Sixteen Friendly Societies are registered with the Financial Services Authority (FSA). These institutions serve approximately one fifth of the population, after consideration is given to dual membership. These institutions are not unique to any particular geographic area but are spread across the country.

Friendly Societies became formally regulated as other sectors of the non-bank financial system with the passage of the Financial Services Authority Act 2011. The primary legislation governing these Societies is the Friendly Societies Act 1843. In the absence of a more modern primary legislation and in order to streamline and modernize their operations in keeping with international best practice, the Friendly Societies Guidelines 2015 was developed and adopted by the FSA.  Implementation commenced in November 2015.

A Friendly Society is an entity established for the purpose of:

(i) providing for money to be paid on the death of a member for funeral expenses in whole or in part, by voluntary subscription of members; and

(ii) encouraging savings and thrift among members; and

(a) “Funeral Expenses” shall be deemed to include all reasonable incidental and ancillary expenses which may be incurred in connection with the death of a member.

An application to register a Friendly Society in the form prescribed by the Authority and signed by a majority of the Board members shall be made to the Authority

Fees payable to the FSA 

(a) There shall be a non-refundable registration fee of EC$250.00 payable upon registration.

(b) An annual renewal fee of EC$500.00 is payable by December 31st of each calendar year.

(c) A fee of EC$50.00 is payable for any filing by a Friendly Society with the Authority.

There are fifteen (15) registered friendly societies operating in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Please click here for a complete, current list of Friendly Societies