Madison, WI – "Governments often don't recognize the value of credit unions," says L.R. (Bobby) McVeigh, chairman of World Council of Credit Unions, Inc. (WOCCU). He continued, "In many areas of the world, credit unions have provided alternatives to moneylenders and loan sharks, as well as high interest banks, by providing lower fee services, lower interest rates on loans, and higher deposit interest rates. Credit unions have a reputation for treating their members fairly, regardless of the amounts they borrow and save. But in New Zealand, credit unions have legal restrictions on membership and growth that don't allow them to be as competitive as they could be."
New Zealand credit unions can accept deposits only up to $250,000, can draw members only from within a small geographic area and who share a common bond, and are not allowed to market themselves as a bank, despite offering most core banking services.
McVeigh notes that governments often don't recognize the value of credit unions. "The bottom line for governments is that they should be promoting competition. Every person should have the option of becoming a member of a credit union." Because of credit union efforts, they may get that chance; with Commerce Minister Pete Hodgson has promised changes to this law. "The legislation has to be changed, and some new legislation crafted, to allow the credit unions to become more competitive, to become a viable choice for consumers in New Zealand," said McVeigh.
In Canada, one in two people is a member of a credit union. In New Zealand, one in twenty people is a member. Not only would changing the law give the New Zealand financial system the competition it needs to keep the moneylenders at bay, it could enable credit unions to increase their international profile.
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El Consejo Mundial de Cooperativas de Ahorro y Crédito es la asociación gremial y agencia de desarrollo para el sistema internacional de cooperativas de ahorro y crédito. El Consejo Mundial promueve el crecimiento sustentable de las cooperativas de ahorro y crédito y otras cooperativas financieras en todo el mundo a fin de facultar a las personas para que mejoren su calidad de vida a través del acceso a servicios financieros asequibles y de alta calidad. El Consejo Mundial realiza esfuerzos de defensa activa en representación del sistema global de las cooperativas de ahorro y crédito ante organizaciones internacionales y trabaja con gobiernos nacionales para mejorar la legislación y la regulación. Sus programas de asistencia técnica introducen nuevas herramientas y tecnologías para fortalecer el desempeño financiero de las cooperativas de ahorro y crédito y profundizar su alcance comunitario.
El Consejo Mundial ha implementado 290 programas de asistencia técnica en 71 países. A nivel mundial, 57,000 cooperativas de ahorro y crédito en 105 países atienden a 217 millones de personas. Obtenga más información sobre el impacto global del Consejo Mundial en www.woccu.org.