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A new board of directors of the Building & Loan Association (BLA) will be elected at a general meeting of its members on Aug. 29.

The directors will be elected as the Financial Services Authority (FSA) returns control of the building society to its members.

The FSA took over management and control of the BLA on Feb. 1.

The FSA stepped in as EC$9 million was withdrawn from the BLA during the two weeks after Luke Browne, a politician with the ruling Unity Labour Party and an economist in the Ministry of Finance, wrote a letter in a local newspaper on Jan. 18, asking questions about the management and financial health of the BLA and asked if the 72-year-old building society was on the verge of collapse.

Eleanor Astaphan, deputy executive director of the FSA, told a press conference on Monday that the general meeting, slated for Aug. 29, shows that the situation at the BLA has improved under the management of the FSA.

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“There is absolutely no question about Building and Loan being better off than it was, and we’ve been able to quantify in this presentation to members the progress that has been made,” Astaphan said.

“What is also clear to us is that even with that progress that we’ve made is that there is much more to be done, and part of the progress going forward is the election of the Board, the selection of the CEO, putting the house further in order, so to speak,” she further stated.

The press briefing followed an FSA meeting with members of the BLA.

Sharda Bollers, executive director of the FSA, said only 1 per cent of the BLA’s 20,000 members attended the meeting.

“We had a very constructive discussion, which we found to be very illuminating, positive and constructive,” she, however, said.

Speaking about the outlook for the BLA, Bollers said:

“… if we have to look at the future against the effort and the commitment of the members that we have now, I think 10 years from now we can look to the Building and Loan Association, not just 70 years in the past, but 70-plus into the future.”

Earlier this year, it emerged that 666 shareholders had applied to withdraw their investments from the BLA.

And Bollers said Monday that the efforts of members will save the BLA.

“At the end of the day, as much effort as the FSA has placed with the respect to ensuring survival, the judgment call is for members and it is clear to us that is what was conveyed at this meeting,” she said.