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Malawai CUs Tackle New Reg Compliance Challenges
LILONGWE, Malawi (6/5/13)--World Council of Credit Unions and Malawi Union of Savings & Credit Co-operatives (MUSCCO) representatives met with state officials in Lilongwe, Malawi, last week to discuss expanding credit union services to rural areas.

Click to view larger image A group of World Council of Credit Unions representatives met with the vice president of Malawi in Lilongwe last week to discuss credit union expansion to rural areas. Representatives included, from left, Brian Branch, World Council of Credit Unions president/CEO; Sylvester Kadzola, World Council director and Malawi Union of Savings & Credit Co-operatives (MUSCCO) CEO; Emmanuel Darko, Ghana Co-operative Credit Unions Association Ltd. general manager; Ingrid Fischer, Canadian Cooperative Association Africa region director ; Khumbo Hastings Kachali, Malawi Vice President; Faith Mang'anda, MUSCCO chair; Charles Kayesa, Malawi registrar of cooperatives; and Alex Gomani, Malawi principal secretary ministry of industry and trade.
Malawi's credit unions, known as savings and credit cooperatives (SACCOs), have taken on new compliance challenges since the country's Financial Cooperatives Bill in 2011 led to a new regulatory framework in April.

Malawi has 46 SACCOs serving 123,540 members and having total assets of roughly $21 million.

Brian Branch, World Council president/CEO, joined World Council Director Sylvester Kadzola, CEO of Malawi Union of Savings & Credit Co-operatives (MUSCCO), a World Council member organization, in a meeting with Malawi Vice President Khumbo Hastings Kachali and Reserve Bank of Malawi Governor Charles Chuka.

"New regulatory forums and structures under new 2012 regulatory framework reflect an increase in regulatory compliance for credit union systems everywhere around the world," Branch said. "National regulatory bodies are working to bring up to international standards the supervision of all institutions that take savings."

Click to view larger image Reserve Bank of Malawi Governor Charles Chuka, left, stressed strong leadership and good governance practices among Malawi's savings and credit cooperatives to Brian Branch, World Council president/CEO.  (Photos provided by World Council of Credit Unions)
During the meeting, Kachali asked for the expansion of SACCO services to rural areas. Chuka encouraged MUSCCO to work on strengthening leadership and good-governance practices among SACCOs. Kadzola stressed the importance of SACCOs in achieving broad-based financial inclusion and building a strong savings base for the country.

The Reserve Bank of Malawi, which acts as SACCOs' regulator and supervisor, issued new regulations in April. Supervision for SACCOs with assets less than $280,000 was delegated to MUSCCO in liaison with the Reserve Bank.

MUSCCO has since instituted regular reporting and examination systems to monitor credit union performance. The new regulatory framework also puts into place a national identification system and credit bureau in which the SACCOs will participate.
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