MADISON, Wis.-Credit unions and financial cooperatives around the world have been islands of relative safety and calm amid the stormy seas of a struggling global economy, and World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) wants attendees at the Group of 20 (G-20) Global Financial Summit to acknowledge that fact and act appropriately in considering actions to stem the current crisis.
President Bush will host a meeting of the G-20*, an organization of major industrial and emerging-market countries, in Washington D.C. on Nov. 15 in hopes of launching financial reform negotiations among world leaders. WOCCU made its voice heard last week by submitting a formal letter to the finance ministers of participating countries asking that the strength and safety credit unions and financial cooperatives provide their members be acknowledged and that cooperatives not be included in inappropriate legislation or regulations that may restrict the very practices that give member-owned institutions their strength and capability to serve.
In his letter, Pete Crear, WOCCU's president and CEO, requested that three distinct steps be taken during the summit:
"We believe strongly that cooperative financial institutions must be consulted prior to any regulatory actions that may affect them," wrote Crear, "and we urge you to make this step a permanent part of your protocols."
The letter was submitted to G-20 finance ministers on Oct. 31. It can be viewed in its entirety at www.woccu.org/positionpapers.
* Established in the wake of the emerging markets financial crisis of the late 1990s, the G-20 is an informal forum that promotes open and constructive discussion between industrial and emerging-market countries on key issues related to global economic stability. The G-20 includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United States, and the European Union.
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.