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Chinese CU leaders in U.S.
WASHINGTON (9/24/08)--Six representatives from the Zhejiang Province Rural Credit Cooperative Union in eastern China visited three U.S. credit unions and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) last week to learn about U.S. credit union operations. The World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) facilitated the trip geared to help Chinese credit unions take best practices from U.S. credit unions back to Chinese soil.
Eric Richard, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) executive vice president and general counsel, discussed CUNA's structure with a visiting Chinese delegation. (Photos provided by World Council of Credit Unions)
The group began in California, where they learned how credit unions serve members at the grassroots level at Northeast Community FCU and San Francisco Lee FCU. Both credit unions serve San Francisco's Chinatown community. Farther east, the Chinese delegation discussed credit union operations and risk management efforts with Municipal CU (MCU) President/CEO Kam Wong and his staff in New York City. The Chinese visitors were particularly struck by MCU’s ability to survive the attacks and events of 9/11. The credit union is located across the street from the World Trade Center site. MCU lost its information technology systems and was forced to temporarily relocate its headquarters in the months following 9/11. U.S. capital requirements was the topic of interest during the group's final stop in Washington, D.C., to visit with Eric Richard, CUNA executive vice president and general counsel, and Michael Edwards, CUNA counsel for special projects.
Click to view larger image Learning about risk management efforts at Municipal CU (MCU), New York, were from left: Xiao Zhenhai, Yuhang Rural Cooperative Bank; Ralph Pagan, Carole Porter and Janet Perkins, all of MCU; Lin Yuqing, Zhejiang Provincial Rural Cooperative CU; Norman Kohn, MCU; Andrea Dannenberg, World Council of Credit Unions; Kam Wong, MCU; Xu Guoxing, Zhu Fanyu, Ying Chaohui and Lin Wei, all of Zhejiang Provincial Rural Credit Cooperative Union; and Ana Puello, MCU.
Chinese rural credit cooperatives must have at least 4% in capital reserves, which is half the requirement for Chinese banks. Edwards also discussed how U.S. credit unions manage risk through minimum net worth capital requirements and limited investment powers. The group also learned more about National Credit Union Administration share deposit insurance and how it might be applied to the credit union environment in Zhejiang. “I was particularly impressed by the size of the Zhejiang credit union system and the level of service they offer to members,” Richard said. “Mr. Zhu explained they have 81 member credit unions, serving 25 million households through 4,000 branches. With $80 billion in assets, this is a huge credit cooperative system.” The Chinese delegation was led by Zhu Fanyu, director-general of Zhejiang Provincial Rural CU, and included staff members Lin Wei, human resources section chief; Lin Yuqing, director of the Quzhou office; Xu Guoxing, risk management section chief; and Ying Chaohui, secretary. Xiao Zhenhai, board chairman of Yuhang Rural Cooperative Bank in Zhejiang Province, also joined the group.
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