Madison, WI—Vadim Kalinichev, general director of the Russian Credit Union League (RCUL) and a ten member delegation of chief executive officers and board of directors representing credit unions from Moscow to Siberia recently conducted an educational trip to Washington, DC.
Russia became a World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) member in July 2005, and the Russian representatives in Washington seemed eager to maximize the potential of their new alliance. In a meeting with World Council's senior staff members the delegation highlighted several specific areas in which they are seeking WOCCU's assistance: they asked many questions concerning credit union regulation, the role of a board, loan and savings rates, etc. However, the meeting with World Council was just one of the delegations activities while in Washington, DC.
Kalinichev and the delegation also participated and helped welcome WOCCU's International Reception participants to the Russian Embassy to the United States in Washington, DC. Close to 400 United States credit union executives and volunteers stepped onto Russian soil—without leaving the United States—to show support of international credit union development. The event allowed networking with American credit union leaders such as Gene Brody, chief executive of an Albany, New York credit union, whose own parents were Russian emigrants.
The delegation also visited with the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), where the Russian delegates met with board chair Jo Ann Johnson, vice chair Rodney E. Hood, and board member Gigi Hyland. From these and other organization leaders they learned about topics such as regulation, examination, credit union shared insurance funds and external affairs.
As part of the exchange the delegation then traveled to the State Department Federal Credit Union to meet Jan Roche, president and chief executive, and Charles Holmes, senior vice president of member services. The group learned and spoke candidly about the importance of breathe of products and services offering to members. And before leaving the States, the delegation was given a personalized tour of the Capitol Building.
"After five days of lively discussion and active participation, it is clear that the Russian Credit Union League and its member credit unions are serious about the improvement of their system, noted Pete Crear, WOCCU CEO. Crear continued, "If Kalinichev and this delegation are any indication to the commitment of the RCUL to provide additional and enhanced services for their existing members and helping new members to benefit from the credit union difference, I expect to see great things out of this movement."
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.