ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Regulatory trends affecting the global credit union movement, especially issues involving capital liquidity and supervisory guidelines, topped the agenda for last week's fifth annual meeting of the International Credit Union Regulators' Network (ICURN), an independent organization that World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) helps coordinate. The three-day event, co-hosted this year by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), the U.S. credit union regulatory agency, attracted more than 50 credit union and financial cooperative regulators from 21 countries.
Several common themes emerged during the meeting, stimulating significant discussion. Participating regulators said many of their countries will be implementing, modifying or restructuring depositor protection systems. As credit unions consolidate, the resulting concentration of assets and members in the newly formed larger entities creates potential concerns about their size and significance to the rest of their countries' respective movements.
Many developing and transitional economies are migrating from a sector developmental stage to a prudential supervisory approach, requiring different regulatory environments, some participants said. Interest rate risk and asset/liability risk could be significant emerging issues globally for credit unions, subject to greater scrutiny.
"In response to global developments, ICURN will be drafting guidance regarding credit union capital and liquidity in the coming months," said ICURN Chair Andy Poprawa, president and CEO of Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario, Canada. "We believe these principles and practices for effectively supervising credit unions will aid with the development of appropriate and sound oversight of credit unions."
The meeting, held June 8-10 at NCUA's Alexandria, Va., headquarters near Washington, D.C., also included a focused discussion on wholesale credit unions and their proposed role in the future of the movement. Earlier in the week, credit union supervisors from Kenya and Tanzania participated along with the Maryland Department of Credit Unions in an on-site examination of a Baltimore credit union, while regulators from Brazil and Singapore joined the Virginia Bureau of Financial Institutions in a credit union examination in Richmond.
During the meeting, network members reaffirmed appointments of regional ICURN representatives, including: Carilus Ademba, SACCO Societies Regulatory Authority, Kenya (Africa); Singam Karuppasamy, Reserve Bank of India (Asia); Wiktor Kamiński, National Association of Co-operative Savings & Credit Unions, Poland (Europe); José Angelo Mazzillo Júnior, Central Bank of Brazil (Latin America/Caribbean); Andy Poprawa, ICURN chair, Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario, Canada, Mary Martha Fortney, National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors, USA, and Gigi Hyland, NCUA, USA (North America); and Brandon Khoo, Australia Prudential Regulation Authority (Oceania).
"These meetings are invaluable and have proven to be an important source in gathering information on the issues facing regulators in other countries," Hyland said. "It is amazing that no matter how large or how mature a system is, so many of the issues are similar around the globe."
Participating credit union supervisors were joined by senior policy officials from the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision secretariat and the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, part of the World Bank Group, who provided firsthand insights into the global financial sector reforms. Participants were also given a first look at ICURN's new logo and website at www.curegulators.org.
"I now have hope that we can improve the situation for credit unions," said Janie Henriette, credit union supervisor from Central Bank of Seychelles, at the close of the meeting.
ICURN, which evolved out WOCCU's annual Regulators' Roundtable, includes 30 organizations from six continents with statutory authority for supervising credit unions. Dave Grace, WOCCU senior vice president of association services, acts as ICURN secretary.
World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development agency for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.
World Council has implemented more than 290 technical assistance programs in 71 countries. Worldwide, 57,000 credit unions in 103 countries serve 208 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.