WOCCU Leader Awarded Top Polish Prize

July 11, 2005

L. R. (Bobby) McVeigh receives the Phoenix Award

MADISON, Wis. – At first glace, it seems Egyptian mythology of the Phoenix and the Foundation for Polish Credit Unions have nothing in common. The Foundation, however, adapts the legend of the 500- year-old bird that burns itself and rises again as a symbol for their award sculpture. The cast- bronze sculpture recognizes a member of the credit union community who contributes significantly to the promotion and development of the Foundation.

The individual acknowledged this year is WOCCU board chairman L. R. (Bobby) McVeigh. Canadian by origin, McVeigh has dedicated most of his professional life as a credit union volunteer in his native Canada. McVeigh joined the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) in 1992 as a delegate and became Chairman in 2003. McVeigh met with Polish credit unions during his 2003 visit to the opening of the National Association of Cooperative Savings (NACSCU) and also addressed the Gdansk Business Club and the SKOK Strategic Planning Committee. During McVeigh's visit, the Polish government pulled out the legislative item taxing SKOKs (credit unions) for a year. At the time, McVeigh was optimistic about the Polish government's hands-off approach to SKOKs.

"We are excited about the decision of the Polish government to allow SKOKs to function as not for profit, tax exempt entities. This is a win for the Polish Credit Union Movement and should provide for continued growth of this young movement," McVeigh said in 2003.

More recently, in March, Polish banking lobbyists attacked Polish credit unions in an endeavor to limit credit union growth and range of services. McVeigh, along with NACSCU executive director Grzegorz Bierecki and interim WOCCU CEO Brian Branch, met with Leszek Balcerowicz, president of the National Bank and Andrzej Jacaszek, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance. In these talks, the trio explained and emphasized the importance of credit unions' ability to provide consumers with choice and lower-cost services.

McVeigh explained to government officials, "This is the valued added of credit unions: the provision of lower cost choice for consumers and the social mission of service and community development."

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