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WOCCU G-10 members meet on growth reg influence
MADISON, Wis. (2/12/10)--Worldwide credit union growth and complex changes that may drive smaller institutions to merge to seek strength critical to addressing new regulations topped the agenda for World Council of Credit Unions' (WOCCU) G-10 members at a meeting last month in Florida.
Click to view larger image Attendees at the World Council of Credit Union's (WOCCU) G-10 meeting included, from left: (Front row) Barry Jolette, U.S.; Bill Knight, meeting facilitator; Manfred Dasenbrock, Brazil; and Carilus Ademba, Kenya; (second row) Yvonne Ridguard, Caribbean; Kieron Brennan, Ireland; and Louise Petschler, Australia; (third row) Victor Fierro Robio, Mexico; Ramón Imperial, Mexico; Mark Bailey, Ireland; and David Phillips, Canada; (fourth row) Dave Grace, WOCCU, U.S.; Ralph Wharton, Caribbean; and Pete Crear, WOCCU, U.S. Not pictured: Dan Mica, U.S. (Photo provided by WOCCU)
Credit unions worldwide last year experienced positive growth in savings and membership, indicating the movement's increasing strength, said WOCCU. However, economic and regulatory changes brought complexity that can sometimes drive smaller institutions to merge in hopes of gaining strength critical to addressing new regulations. The WOCCU G-10, comprised of the world's 10 largest member credit union systems, meets each January to discuss issues affecting financial services in general and credit unions in particular. This year's topics fell under the shadow of last year's global economic crisis, from which many systems are still recovering. "None of us have gone untouched by the recession, but some of us were able to better weather the storm than others," said Pete Crear, WOCCU president/CEO. "The G-10 meeting affords a unique opportunity for the largest credit union systems from around the globe to gather and share solutions to such problems." All participants shared a concern that new regulations must be appropriate for credit unions in the countries they serve. The impact of new laws in Kenya and South Africa have yet to be felt, while other countries proactive in regulatory development, often with WOCCU's help, had insights to share about best approaches to offer lawmakers assistance. The extent to which the experiences can be shared with government bodies in the formative stages of drafting legislation may help credit unions better serve members, particularly as financial markets change and institutions continue to grow, WOCCU said. "The U.S. credit union movement can and does learn a great deal from the burgeoning worldwide movement, particularly with regard to building wealth for members," said Dan Mica, president/CEO of the Credit Union National Association, WOCCU's U.S. member and a G-10 organization. "Sharing success stories and even challenges among our respective organizations helps ensure that no ideas are overlooked, and that all challenges may be addressed." In addition to Mica, WOCCU G-10 members in attendance included Manfred Dasenbrock, Confederação Interestadual das Cooperativas Ligadas ao SICREDI, Brazil; Carilus Ademba, Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Co-operatives; Yvonne Ridguard and Ralph Wharton, Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions; Mark Bailey and Kieron Brennan, Irish League of Credit Unions; Louise Petschler, Abacus Australian Mutuals; Victor Fierro Robio and Ramón Imperial, Caja Popular Mexicana, Mexico; and David Phillips, Credit Union Central of Canada. In addition to Crear, WOCCU officials and executives participating in the meeting included Chair Barry Jolette, U.S.; and Dave Grace, WOCCU vice president of association services. The two-day meeting was moderated by Mark Sievewright, corporate senior vice president, strategic marketing, for Fiserv Inc., and Bill Knight, president of Hebb, Knight and Associates. Representatives from the National Association of Cooperative Savings & Credit Unions, Poland, and the Federación de Cooperativas de Ahorro y Crédito de Costa Rica, the remaining two G-10 nations, were unable to attend this year's meeting. "As a member of the U.S. Congress, where I served on the Foreign Relations Committee, I learned the value of international cooperation and communication," said Mica. "The G-10 gathering reinforces my commitment and belief to both of those values."
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