History of the Credit Union Movement in Cameroon
The Credit Union idea was introduced in Cameroon by Rev. Father Anthony Jansen, a Roman Catholic Priest from Holland. He formed the first Credit Union in Cameroon. Rev. Father Anthony Jansen was working in a small Camerionian village called Njinikom in the 1960s. The people were being exploited by money lenders; they had difficulties paying school fees; they needed somewhere secure to save their money.
Rev. Father Anthony Jansen
He knew the Credit Union model would best resolve these issues so he started ‘the St. Anthony Discussion Group’ with 7 members in 1963. It was registered as the first C.U in Cameroon in Sept. 1964 as the Njinikom C.C.U. The Credit Union had 16 members and a total shares/savings of 2.100 Frs at the time of registration. In 1965 Rev. Father Barnicle noticed the same problems in another village called Kikaikelaki where he teamed up with M. T. Banseka, headmaster of the Catholic School to start a Credit Union in the village. Through weekly education meetings they spread the C.U idea, setting up discussion groups and Credit Unions in neighbouring villages. They were assisted by other Reverend gentlemen, graduates from the Coady Institute in Canada and officers of the West Cameroon Cooperative Department
Creation Of the Camccul Network
TONY BARNICLE propagated the Credit Union idea after Njinikom. He initiated the idea of a League and set up the existing CamCCUL League. As the idea spread, Father Barnicle became concerned about the management of these Credit Unions.
He brought together stakeholders to discuss the formation of an umbrella organ for Credit Unions in January 1967. In Sept. 1967 M. T. Banseka started training at the Coady Institute with financial support from the Catholic Relief Services.
By 1968 there existed 34 C.Us with a total membership of 4 000, savings amounting to over 14 million F CFA ($32 000) and loans to members of over 11 million F CFA ($25 000).
In January 1968 Father Barnicle convened a meeting of all Credit Unions where a Coordinating Committee (C.C) of C.Us was formed. It was made up of elected C.U representatives. On Sept. 4th 1968, the League was registered officially as the West Cameroon Cooperative Credit Union League Limited (WCCUL) with the C.C as its BoDs. Its mission was ‘to ensure the continuous development and sustainability of the Credit Union Movement in Cameroon’. Mr. A. A. Van Akooy, a Dutch volunteer was appointed first Acting Manager of the League in 1968.