The Romanian Federation of Credit Unions (FEDCAR) and the Ohio Credit Union League (OCUL) last month signed an agreement of mutual support as the newest participants in World Council of Credit Unions' (WOCCU) International Partnerships Program.
Paul Mercer, OCUL president, and John Florian, league vice president of government affairs, traveled with Bill Herring, CEO of Cincinnati Central CU, to Romania to formalize a partnership between the league and FEDCAR.
WOCCU's Brian Branch, executive vice president and chief operating officer, and Victor Miguel Corro, senior manager in charge of the International Partnerships Program, also were part of the group.
While Romanian credit unions are growing, their operating environment presents challenges to future growth and success, including a narrow product-service mix limited to a savings-type deposit account and small loans for terms of five years or less. Lobbying for legislative and regulatory changes is crucial to Romanian credit unions' continued ability to serve their members, said OCUL (eLumination Newsletter June 1).
The Ohioans met with leaders of two credit unions and observed common factors among FEDCAR credit unions: high delinquencies, high liquidity, increased costs and low loan volume.
The combined group identified three areas of immediate need in which OCUL could help FEDCAR:
1. Support lobbying efforts for better credit union legislation in Romania;
2. Assist with marketing efforts to bring more credit unions into FEDCAR's membership; and
3. Provide continued training in risk management, including a possible visit to Ohio by Romanian credit union leaders for intensive training.
Mercer, Florian and Herring ended the visit by conducting a training session on risk management, advocacy, and the value of trade association membership for 64 leaders from all 17 FEDCAR-affiliated credit unions.
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