When I first wrote about COACECSS, the credit Union being promoted at the Tuesday meetings it was only to be informational. I am not an investigative reporter, I am not a reporter. I did want people in the English speaking community to be aware of a potential problem with something being sold to them every Tuesday. As this has unfolded several parallel events have emerged. I read and reach my own conclusions, I am providing you a series of links and quotes so you too can read and reach your own conclusions.
My awareness of this Menage began when I mentioned an article in the Capital Financiero, a Spanish language financial publication in Panama. An unofficial translation of the notice goes like this:
“The Independent Institute Cooparativo (IPACOOP) on the authority of its board of directors, decided to take temporary management of the Cooperative Savings and Credit Fund Employees Social Security, R. L. (Coacecss).
This decision was made after a special audit carried out Coacess, which showed a repeated failure to Law 17 of 1997.
Marta was also appointed as intervener Moon Veliz temporary cooperative while the correction of deficiencies found, trying to keep attention to partners and the general public.
The resolution JD/11/2012, by authorizing the intervention, indicated that the audit carried out “details an alarming deterioration of financial and administrative organization through this cooperative and that such circumstances pose a serious risk to the investments by the cooperative and therefore the money from partners and third parties. ”
James Sturge, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Coacecss, upon receiving the notification, announced his willingness to work addressing all recommendations made by the institution, said in a statement IPACOOP.
The IPACOOP reiterated its commitment to protect the funds of the cooperative and to ensure adherence to cooperative principles, values and laws that govern it.”
Capital , LINK
The response to my post and Ning thread was interesting, most on it on Boquete Ning, LINK.
This comment posted by Jim Thompson is the counter argument to the the quote highlighted by me above.
“Here is a bit of information to correct some errors or add info to this website:
- This is an “Administrative Intervention” and as such by definition, in no way involved the immediate financial health or solvency of the Credit Union
- The credit union will continue to honor all interest payments in both certificates of deposit and Money Market savings accounts,
- The credit union has the solvency to pay all principal amounts of certificates of deposit when matured and if requested.
And most importantly, clients funds are not in jeopardy. Never were. Never will be. Credit Unions are wonderful organizations to deal with. The people are exceptional and I am most happy to be involved with this particular Credit Union. ” Link
Jim appears to have a more direct conduit into the credit Union finances than the government auditors who said.
“details an alarming deterioration of financial and administrative organization through this cooperative and that such circumstances pose a serious risk to the investments by the cooperative and therefore the money from partners and third parties. “
Jim also wrote this in a response on BoqueteGuide.
“With all of the misinformation being circulated by some irresponsible websites and blogs, it has been a confusing week for everyone involved. As usual, the credit union people are wonderful to work with, and helpful in every way. Members and non-members of Credit Unions in Panama are so fortunate to have an organization like IPACOOP looking after their interests.”
Look under comments for July 6, 2012 at 3:44 pm for the full context.
Jim provided his email address as email@example.com , what is OffShore CD Network. Their webpage is http://www.offshorecdnetwork.com/ . In an article on that site, Tammy Gulbronson states, Jim Thompson is the exclusive representative of Offshore CD Networks in Boquete Panama and she assists him.
Thanks to a reader of Boquete Ning, I discovered a bit more about OffShore CD Network, the marketing side of this Menage de Trois.
I have never met Gilbert R. J. Straub so I cannot be sure he is the same person, but Google has a lot to say about the name.
Here are some links to follow if you wonder.
The third entity in the Menage is Pronto Cash, a prepaid Mastercard.
COACECSS Credit Union Appoints Exclusive MasterCard Issuer | Financiera Pronto Cash Principal Issuer |
News Journal: Friday February 24, 2012
Pronto Cash MasterCard is Prime MasterCard Issuer for COACECSS |
Financiera Pronto Cash S.A has been appointed as exclusive issuer of MasterCard for COACECSS Credit Union which is one of the most successful financial groups in the Republic of Panama. Financiera Pronto Cash has been issuing MasterCard for members of COACECSS and has designed a special Gold MasterCard for over 20,000 individuals at COACECSS.
MasterCard International with Financiera Pronto Cash have been rapidly expanding in Latin America with many and innovative presentations and MasterCard also was a sponsor for the Panama Jazz Festival which was recently held and was a tremendous success.
Check the www.pronto-cash.com web site for daily promotions from MasterCard and Financiera Pronto Cash in the Republic of Panama.
According to Don Winner,
Pronto Cash, the financier that issues a “financial card” that operates similar to a debit card, allegedly violated Article 7 of Law 81 of 31 December 2009, according to a senior official of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. This law protects the rights of users of credit cards and other cards of funding. Article 7 states “the issuer is obliged to inform the Unit of Financial Analysis of such operations, in accordance with Law 42 of 2000, and its regulations. The banks established in Panama have the authorization derived from the banking system that is applicable and they will continue with the material in this chapter that which in respect establishes that regimen.”
This past week Don Winner published this about Pronto Cash.
“The international credit card firm cancelled the issuer license held by the financial company Pronto Cash, after the Attorney General’s Office opened an investigation for the alleged illegal taking of deposits. On 12 April 2012, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry revoked Pronto Cash’s license to operate as a financial company and imposed a fine of $10,000 dollars, after learning the news the company had a product on the market that worked as a debit card without a banking license. MasterCard told Panama America that Pronto Cash is no longer authorized to issue products with their brand. “With this, now one can no longer use the cards that had been issued by this entity, nor will they be permitted to issue new cards,” said Angélica Gutiérrez David, the spokeswoman for MasterCard’s Latin America region.”
There is much more about Pronto Cash at this LINK
I have compiled information from pubic sources and consolidated it into a post so you can dig further if you wish. Association with OffShore CD Network and Pronto Cash does not imply any issues with COACECESS.
The words of IPACOOP the agency that took control of COACECSS, makes me think that the government intends to clean up the problems in the credit union. Perhaps the auditors had some information regarding this tryst of three and decided it was in the best interest of the Credit Union to intervene now rather than later; I am only speculating.
“The Independent Institute Cooparativo (IPACOOP) on the authority of its board of directors, decided to take temporary management of the Cooperative Savings and Credit Fund Employees Social Security, R. L. (Coacecss).”
It is my belief that because COACECSS is the Credit union for Social Security employees in Panama it will survive. I am not knowledgeable enough about the laws in Panama to know who might bear the pain of any losses in reorganization. If I had any money invested I would certainly be asking that and other questions.