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WOCCU to Basel Committee Consider CU difference
BASEL, Switzerland (4/1/10)--Credit unions worldwide have weathered the global financial crisis better than their larger, for-profit counterparts and, in many countries, have helped stabilize and counter-balance inherent weaknesses in the financial services systems.
Click to view larger image David Phillips, left, president/CEO of Credit Union Central of Canada, and Grzegorz Bierecki, president/CEO of Poland's National Association of Cooperative Savings and Credit Unions, took the credit union message to the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision in Switzerland this week.
Those were some of the key messages a World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) delegation raised on Monday during three meetings with members of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and the Financial Stability Board to address pending revisions to the Basel II capital accord. "Over the past decade, the Basel Committee's capital rules affecting banks and credit unions have been adopted by financial regulators in more than 100 countries," said Dave Grace, WOCCU vice president of association services. who led the multi-national delegation. "It is imperative that the Basel Committee's guidance not only does no harm to financial cooperatives, but that it actively promotes the diversity and benefit those cooperatives bring to the marketplace." he said. The delegation also included WOCCU Second Vice-Chair Grzegorz Bierecki, president/CEO of Poland's National Association of Cooperative Savings & Credit Unions, and David Phillips, president/CEO of Credit Union Central of Canada.
Click to view larger image It's imperative the Basel Committee's guidance recognizes the diversity and benefit that financial cooperatives bring to the marketplace, said Dave Grace, World Council of Credit Unions vice president of association services. (Photos provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
The group met with Basel Committee and Financial Stability Board officials to discuss capital and liquidity standards and other issues that affect credit unions. In the interest of promoting proper oversight of financial cooperatives, the delegation raised specific issues regarding credit unions' capital structure and governance policies. It also raised credit union reactions to the financial crisis and learned that Basel officials were not aware of credit unions' efforts. WOCCU has advocated for the past several years that the Basel Committee recognize the credit union difference. The current consultative documents, adapted with guidance from the Group of 20 (G-20) nations in response to the global economic meltdown, recognize for the first time the difference between large for-profit financial corporations and non-joint stock companies, which includes mutuals, cooperatives and credit unions. Input from credit unions on the issues raised during the delegation's meeting is critical to ensure that those standards appear in the final guidelines, delegation officials said. To follow up the meetings, WOCCU will host a webinar on April 7 for WOCCU member organizations and regulators with participation from the Basel Committee's staff. Comments from both the visit and webinar will be incorporated into a formal letter WOCCU will submit in response to the Basel Committee's consultative documents on behalf of the global credit union movement. The deadline to submit comments in response to the current consultative documents is April 16. "WOCCU continues to be the voice of the international credit union community," said Bierecki, noting that what credit unions have to say "is being heard by people in positions to make a difference."
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