Grenada Co-operative Bank Limited, fondly referred to as the “Penny Bank” and now commonly called “Co-op Bank,” has a rich history in Grenada. The Bank was established in 1932 by a group of local businessmen to create a banking institution for local working class families who could not have afforded to open accounts at other banks. The other banks were foreign owned and at that time catered only for wealthy Grenadian farmers, merchants and the upper class. In order to establish an account, one had to have a pound (£1) as a minimum deposit—a criterion which was associated with the wealthy people in Grenada. Since this was well out of reach for the lower working class families, they were therefore forced to save their monies at home under their mattresses. As a result, a few good men, namely Arnold Williamson, P.G. Hosten, R.O. Williams, W.E. Julien, T.E. Noble Smith, Sam Brathwaite, and C.F.P. Renwick seized the perfect opportunity to lay the foundation for the development of the Penny Bank. They became the first Directors of the Bank and came up with the well-established motto “Thrift and Industry,” its symbol or logo being a bee hive.
Co-op Bank started its account with a mere Penny which differentiated it from the other banks and gave it the long standing name “The Penny Bank.” The idea was simply to teach children to save at an early age, and they were issued with passbooks for their birthday, with a Penny to start the account.
Co-op Bank still stands today—a Bank that has stood the test of time—one hive built by a few strong bees now continues to multiply, symbolizing strength, security and togetherness.
It is the only bank that is truly, indigenously Grenadian and has remained a national bank. Evolving over time to meet customers needs, Co-op Bank now operates five Retail Banking Units (RBUs) and offers a full range of personal and commercial services with regional and international links.
The first General Managers were Mr. Sam Brathwaite, Mr. Kenneth Williams and Mr. Irie Bain. The current Managing Director, Mr. Richard W. Duncan is leading Co-op Bank forward in its expansion and modernization process.
The RBU in St. George’s was opened in July of 1933 on Young Street and was later relocated to the historical Church Street locale. With the expansion of its customer base, the St. George’s RBU moved to a new state of the art customer service centre, at #14 Church Street, on July 15, 2010, while its head office remained at #8 Church Street.
The Grenville RBU opened its doors in 1977 at Victoria Street, Grenville. It too was later relocated in 1997 to its new location at the corner of Victoria and George Patterson Streets. This three-story building is now bigger and more spacious.
On March 12, 1979, the Sauteurs RBU opened its doors—one day before the overthrow of Sir Eric Matthew Gairy on March 13. It acted quickly to fill the vacuum for much needed banking services in the parish, after the closing of two commercial banks (Barclays and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce) at that time. It was for a long time the only bank serving the people of St. Patrick’s. Co-op Bank Sauteurs has stood the test of time and today stands as a pillar of longevity and service to the people of the area. It is the only RBU that has not been relocated from its original location. It has since upgraded its facilities, and expanded and improved its customer services to meet the evolving needs of customers.
Spiceland Mall was opened in August 2000. Like all the other RBUs, Spiceland Mall RBU offers all banking services. Its strategic location at the mall allows for easy and convenient access and parking, and many customers have expressed their preference of doing business at that RBU because of this.
The most recent addition was the Carriacou RBU. It was opened on July 19, 2007 and has brought banking with a difference to the sister isle. The Carriacou RBU is located on the corner of Main and Patterson Streets, Hillsborough.
Over the years, Co-op Bank has been growing and has been undergoing numerous changes. Its physical and operational facilities are continuously on the upgrade. The Bank is fully computerized and now offers all modern international banking services including credit card and debit card facilities, ATM service, deposit accounts, wire transfers, and much more. Co-op Bank has in its employ over 150 members of staff of high calibre.
Co-op Bank is known to generally bend backwards to accommodate low income customers. Conditions for qualifying for loans are not as stiff as other banks, and in some cases, customers are allowed longer repayment periods. Co-op Bank is committed to providing a service and looking after the needs of the people. As a result, its loan portfolio is growing and the bank is thriving. Financing is available for land, house and vehicle purchases, renovations, and personal loans for travel, education, medical expenses, etc. Our rates are very competitive, being at most on par, but definitely not above the competition in most cases. Our products and services are priced according to how much they cost the Bank to provide them. Co-op Bank does not charge onerous and burdensome fees nor does the Bank charge customers when their accounts fall below the minimum balance. The Bank is committed to quality service.
The friendly and personable staff make customers feel welcomed and comfortable. Co-op Bank’s mission is “to be a leading Grenadian provider of high quality financial and related services to individuals and organizations in the local and international markets, maximizing benefits for all stakeholders”.
Co-op Bank, welcome home.