Duluth, GA – Seventeen representatives from eight Georgia credit unions and the Georgia Credit Union Affiliates (GCUA) recently participated in the 10th Anniversary Celebration of the People to People Partnership in Krakow, Poland from June 21-26, 2005.
The highlight of the trip was a symposium entitled "Focus on the Future-The Next 10 Years." The event included a presentation of the highlights and successes of the first ten years of the partnership and an open dialogue session led by Mike Mercer, President, Georgia Credit Union Affiliates (GCUA) and Grzegorz Bierecki, President, National Association of Cooperative and Savings Credit Unions (NACSCU).
The symposium also featured partnership success profiles presented by the Georgia and Polish credit unions, and discussions on identifying priorities for future partnership collaborations.
"This celebration was one of the most fulfilling and thought provoking events of our 10-year partnership with the Polish credit union system. Participants left the celebration with a deeper appreciation of what the Polish credit union system has achieved in terms of serving the consumers of Poland. In addition, the Polish credit union movement has been instrumental in the growth and development of credit unions within several former east block countries," according to Dan Denning, Staff Liaison for the Georgia/Polish partnership at GCUA.
Additional highlights of the trip included the delegations' participation in the 13th Annual General Meeting of NACSCU. In addition to the Georgia delegation, there were hundreds of attendees from the eastern European countries of Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus, Romania and Moldova; all of which have been assisted in starting their own credit unions by the Polish credit union system. Representatives from the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) were also present.
The Polish Partnership was formed on May 12, 1995 to establish cooperation for the benefit of the Poland and Georgia credit union movements. This partnership has focused on assistance in developing new products and services, direct training for leaders of new Polish credit unions, sharing information and expertise, funding special projects, providing technical assistance and participating in exchange visits. Thirteen Georgia credit unions have participated in the program since its inception.
The Georgia credit unions represented on the trip were: BOND Community Credit Union, Delta Employees Credit Union, Gwinnett Federal Credit Union, Health Center Credit Union, Lockheed Georgia Employees' Federal Credit Union, MACO Educators Federal Credit Union, Robins Federal Credit Union and TIC Federal Credit Union. Since its rebirth in 1991 the Poland credit union movement has become Poland's largest network of financial services. They have accumulated more than $1 billion USD in consumer savings with more than seventy-seven credit unions serving more than 1 million Polish citizens.
Georgia credit unions are cooperative non-profit financial institutions that help members and their families achieve their financial goals. Credit unions' service and operations are guided by four cooperative principles: "Members, Not Just Customers," "One Member, One Vote," "Service Makes the Difference," and "Profits Belong to the Members."
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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.