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WOCCU keynoters Accountability transparency crucial
HONG KONG (7/16/08)--Global economic and social uncertainty bring with them the opportunity for credit unions to prosper through
Pete Crear, World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) president/CEO, opens Monday's general session at the WOCCU World Credit Union Conference in Hong Kong. (Photos by Patrick Leung)
increased service to more members. Add to that the movement's transparency and responsibility to those members, and it's clear credit unions will continue thriving by doing the right things for the right reasons, according to World Council of Credit Union's (WOCCU) chief executive and a former U.S. legislator. Pete Crear, WOCCU's president/CEO and former U.S. Sen. Paul Sarbanes, co-author of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation, mandating increased financial accountability from publicly held companies, opened Monday's educational sessions at WOCCU's World Credit Union Conference at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre. The conference runs through today. Both shared insights and observations on why credit unions remain among the best and most ethical member-service alternatives. “History has shown us that the stability offered by credit unions in both developed and developing nations can help buoy struggling
Paul Sarbanes, former Senator and co-author of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation, spoke at the World Council of Credit Unions' World Credit Union Conference in Hong Kong. "Credit unions' focus is always on its members. That's your purpose and your mission, and that's why I've been so supportive of credit unions over the years," he told attendees.
populations and set unsettled economies on a more even keel,“ Crear told more than 1,300 attendees from 48 countries gathered for the annual event. “Countries whose populations formerly were characterized only by groups of ‘have-nots' and ‘have-mores' have achieved greater economic balance through credit union development, enabling people to support their families and approaching a social equanimity that can lead to peace and relative prosperity,” he added. Credit unions worldwide have helped foster a “new age,” as global economic realignment is altering the strength and prosperity of many nations, Crear said. Developing countries especially have made great strides economically and socially, creating broader free-market access in which more people are able to participate. Credit union movements in many countries have helped stabilize economies and foster growth, he added. Citing evidence from WOCCU's newly released 2007 Statistical Report, Crear noted that credit unions have continued to grow,
Credit Union National Association President/CEO Dan Mica speaks at the World Council of Credit Unions' World Credit Union Conference in Hong Kong. In his speech, Mica noted that credit unions' transparency and accountability can serve as lessons to other financial service providers.
with more than 49,000 credit unions serving more than 177 million people worldwide last year. That's an increase from 46,000 credit unions serving 172 million members the year before, an increase that shows that the credit union ideal is working, he added. Sarbanes, who was introduced by Credit Union National Association President/CEO Dan Mica, himself a former Florida legislator, supported Crear's assessment, noting that credit unions' transparency and accountability can serve as lessons to other financial service providers. Sarbanes also had a strong response to Crear's “state of the credit union movement” address, including examples of credit unions in post-conflict environments like Afghanistan, where employees put themselves at physical risk to serve members. “I was very moved by Pete Crear's outline of what credit unions
A view of Hong Kong from Victoria Peak, where the Supporter's Reception of the World Council of Credit Unions' World Credit Union Conference was held this week.
worldwide are doing,“ Sarbanes said. “I think credit union principles are basic and fundamental and I commend you for holding to your principles when there is so much pressure to stray from the path.” The former legislator also drew a connection between the tenets of Sarbanes-Oxley legislation and credit union principles. Service to members and the accountability such service demands falls in line with the legislation's mandate, he added. “Credit unions' focus is always on its members. That's your purpose and your mission, and that's why I've been so supportive of credit unions over the years,” Sarbanes added. “That's also what makes your mission of ‘quality credit unions for everyone' so important.”
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