The World Council of Credit Unions, Inc. (WOCCU) and its European members from Ireland, Great Britain, Poland and Romania held the first ever breakfast seminar in Brussels, Belgium on October 6th for members of the European Parliament. The event was co-hosted by Brian Crawley and Marian Harkin, both Irish members of the European Parliament, and was held within Parliament.
The primary purpose of the breakfast seminar was to expand the knowledge base of European Parliament members and officials within the European Commission with respect to credit unions. Attendance was strong and a vigorous discussion was held on the potential impact of the consumer credit directive on credit unions in the European Union (EU). Two European Parliament members currently have loans with their local credit unions, and one member indicated that it was with this loan that she was able to finance her campaign for Parliament.
"For a first of its kind event in the European Parliament for credit unions in the EU, I think the program was extremely successful," indicated Pete Crear, chief executive officer of WOCCU. "Anytime you can attract the numbers of elected officials that we did and keep them engaged in a discussion for the duration that we did, it's a huge success. The best stories of the benefits of credit unions were told by some of the Parliament members to their colleagues," continued Crear.
Credit union representatives present at the breakfast seminar included Liam O'Dwyer, Uel Adair and Noel Madden of Ireland; Grzegorz Bierecki and Pawel Grezsik of Poland; Gary Plank, Pete Crear and Dave Grace of WOCCU; Roney Hobley and Ciara Morrison of Great Britain; Florin Simion from Romania; and Eleonora Zgonjanin from Macedonia.
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 105 countries serve 217 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.