The World Bank and Bank for International Settlements (BIS) recently invited Dave Grace, Senior Manager of the World Council of Credit Unions, Inc. (WOCCU) to provide a credit union perspective on their recent draft of General Principles for International Remittance Services during an international conference in Washington, D.C. During the conference, Grace expressed WOCCU's strong support for discouraging exclusive contract arrangements and promoted the need for transparency of remittance exchange rates and fees.
The World Bank and BIS document recognizes the important role that credit unions play in offering remittance services. It does not, however, go far enough to ensure that credit unions have equal and competitive access in the remittance markets, as the Group of Eight Finance Ministers intended during their Sea Island Summit proceedings.
Grace emphasized how important it is that the General Principles guarantee credit unions the ability to offer remittance services in order to provide greater access to financial services and have direct access to national and international clearing and settlement systems.
"In too many countries, we still encounter government or commercial bank-sponsored national clearing and settlement systems that exclude direct credit union participation," Grace noted. "This practice can limit credit unions' growth and ability to effectively compete."
Formal comments on the consultative document are due to the World Bank and BIS by August 18, 2006. WOCCU has asked its members to submit comments on the document to Liliana Tangwall, ltangwall@woccu. org, by July 15, to ensure a strong, consolidated response.
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.