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WOCCU G7 stresses crisis prep unified regulations
MADISON, Wis. (2/18/09)--Credit unions worldwide see a greater “internationalization” of regulation, and credit union associations should prepare crisis communications plans to help both themselves and their member institutions cope with the worsening global economy, said World Council of Credit Unions’ (WOCCU) G7 members. Those resolutions topped the agenda for the WOCCU G7’s January meeting in Florida.
Click to view larger image Attendees at the 2009 World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) G7 meeting included, from left, Pete Crear, WOCCU president/CEO; Dave Grace, WOCCU vice president of association services; Kieron Brennan, CEO, Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU); David Phillips, CEO, Credit Union Central of Canada (CUCC); Michael Alleyne, board president, Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions; Uel Adair, ILCU board president Wictor Kaminski, vice president of National Association of Cooperative Savings & Credit Unions, Poland; Bill Knight, meeting facilitator; Melvin Edwards, WOCCU chair; Brian Branch, WOCCU executive vice president and chief operating officer; Barry Jolette, WOCCU first vice chairman; and Garth Manness, president of CUCC. Not pictured: Dan Mica, president/CEO of the Credit Union National Association. (Photo provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
The WOCCU G7, comprising the world’s seven largest credit union systems, meets annually to discuss issues affecting financial services in general and credit unions specifically. Due to the severity of the global financial situation, the group also held conference calls last year to better understand and analyze the current financial crisis. “The financial issues facing credit unions today are as bad as they have ever been, not only for U.S. credit unions, but also for credit unions in many of WOCCU’s member countries,” said Pete Crear, WOCCU president/CEO. “Collectively, credit unions in WOCCU's G7 group serve nearly 115 million people worldwide. The actions taken by G7 members affect nearly 65% of credit union members globally.” Participants agreed that regulatory “internationalization“ presents challenges for credit unions and requires increased coordination at a global level. At the request of member organizations, WOCCU staff and volunteers regularly lobby before various government bodies. In 2008, WOCCU influenced credit union regulatory issues in Poland and Costa Rica. One of Africa's first credit union laws was passed in Kenya late last year, the result of a six-year effort by WOCCU, U.S. leagues and credit unions, and the Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Co-operatives Ltd.--the country’s credit union association. Taking a more unified approach to global credit union regulatory development would strengthen credit union systems and institutions so each could better serve members, the group agreed. Participants also stressed the need for crisis communication plans suitable for both associations and the credit unions they serve. Credit unions worldwide enjoy a high degree of member confidence and trust, G7 delegates said. Providing crisis plans will be critical to maintaining trust and service to members during tough times. WOCCU G7 representatives in attendance included: Dan Mica, Credit Union National Association, U.S.; David Phillips and Garth Manness, Credit Union Central of Canada; Kieron Brennan and Uel Adair, Irish League of Credit Unions; Wiktor Kaminski, National Association of Cooperative Savings & Credit Unions, Poland; and Michael Alleyne, Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions (CCCU). Louise Petschler, Abacus Australian Mutuals, attended remotely. Representatives from Brazil, the seventh of the G7 countries, were unable to attend. In addition to Crear, WOCCU officials and executives participating included: Chairman Melvin Edwards, CCCU; First Vice Chairman Barry Jolette, U.S.; Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Brian Branch; and Vice President of Association Services Dave Grace. The G7 will next meet in July during WOCCU's World Credit Union Conference in Barcelona.
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