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European CUs expect U.S. economic crisis ripple
BUCHAREST, Romania (11/25/08)--Current economic challenges facing the U.S. were topics of frequent discussion at World Council of Credit Unions' (WOCCU) European Credit Union Technical Congress last week in Bucharest, Romania. Presenters at the week-long congress offered strategies to strengthen credit union movements and help individual institutions better face the anticipated ripple effect of the growing U.S. economic crisis.
World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) European Technical Congress attendees, from left, Florin Simion, executive director of the Central Federation of Romanian Credit Unions; Brian Branch, WOCCU executive vice president and chief operating officer; and Grzegorz Bierecki, president of the National Association of Cooperative Savings and Credit Unions, listen to speakers at a Bucharest, Romania, meeting last week.
National Association of Cooperative Savings and Credit Unions’ Grzegorz Bierecki emphasized the need for greater unity among Eastern European credit unions at a Bucharest, Romania, meeting. (Photos provided by World Council of Credit Unions)
“These are challenging but promising times for credit unions,” Brian Branch, WOCCU's executive vice president and chief operating officer, told nearly 150 delegates from 10 countries attending. Attendees included officials of the Romanian government and the Central Bank of Romania. “People will be looking more and more to credit unions to help them face their economic challenges during this turbulent period,” Branch added. Delegates from Ireland, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, the U.S. and Uzbekistan attended educational sessions designed to help European credit unions continue growing and serving members as the U.S. economic crisis travels east. The economic ripples are expected to gather strength and pose greater challenges to European credit unions throughout 2009 and into 2010, according to local reports. “We're here to cooperate and support each other's work,” said Grzegorz Bierecki, president of the National Association of Cooperative Savings and Credit Unions, Poland's credit union trade group, and treasurer for WOCCU's board. “This is very important for us in Eastern Europe.” Educational sessions focused on financial management, credit union building, delinquency control, interest-rate setting and marketing. Seminars also stressed the importance of lobbying and developing model credit union law, policies and bylaws, and the proper role and authority of board members. Educational sessions were simultaneously presented in English, Polish, Romanian and Russian. The European Credit Union Technical Congress, co-sponsored by the Central Federation of Romanian Credit Unions, was the final of four sessions presented this year by WOCCU. Previous technical congresses were held in Guatemala, Fiji and The Gambia.
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