WOCCU in Russia: First Eastern European Congress a Success
Russia and Louisiana sign official International Partnership Agreement
Brian Branch, WOCCU Chief Operating Officer, addresses the 217
participants of the Eastern European Congress as (r-l) Pete Crear,
WOCCU President & CEO, Valery Kasatkin, Chairman of the Russian
Credit Union League and Vadim Kalinichev, CEO of the Russian Credit
Union League, look on.
Madison, WI—World Council of Credit Unions
(WOCCU) partnered with member the Russian
Credit Union League (RCUL) to co-host its
inaugural Eastern European Credit Union Congress
in Moscow, Russia, September 10-12. The first
congress of its kind in the region, 217
participants from 12 countries attended to discuss
the progress of credit union movements in Eastern
Europe and throughout the world.
Vadim Kalinchev, CEO of RCUL, remarked “The
Congress is undoubtedly a big opportunity for
further interaction between participating credit
unions. Credit unions throughout the region can
now see that we are moving in one direction
together, committed to International Credit Union
Attendees from Azerbaijan, Iran, Ireland, Ukraine,
Uzbekistan and other countries participated in
lively discussions on issues of critical
importance to credit unions in the region. Topics
ranged from how credit unions can strengthen their
social and civic responsibility to why and how
credit unions are regulated in the United States.
Vladimir Lukov, Deputy Director of the
Department for Finance Policy, Finance Ministry of
the Russian Federation, provoked a spirited debate
when he presented on the Finance Ministry's plans
to create one national system of regulation for
all types of microfinance institutions in Russia.
Participants of the 2007 Eastern European Congress in Moscow.
Dina Plokhotnaya, known as “Mother Russia” for her
involvement in the formation of credit unions in
Russia, addressed the top government officials
present, demanding to know if proposed regulatory
legislation in Russia will be specifically
designed for credit unions. Her probing led others
to question the officials on whether proposed
legislation would take into account the
institutional requirements of a sustainable
deposit-taking financial cooperative, and
adequately build public confidence.
Grzegorz Bierecki, WOCCU Treasurer and President of
the National Association of Cooperative Savings
and Credit Unions (NACSCU) in Poland, explained
the seven secrets to credit union growth and
cautioned participants about the danger of
over-reliance on external credit for developing
During the three-day gathering, RCUL and the
Louisiana Credit Union League (LCUL) signed their
International Partnership Agreement with WOCCU.
Anne Cochran, WOCCU Director and President and CEO
of LCUL, remarked, “The warmth and energy of the
Russian people make the opportunity to work in
this partnership especially rewarding.”
WOCCU will continue to support the developing
credit union movements of Eastern Europe and will
carry out another European Congress in 2008.
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.
Contact: Rebecca Carpenter
Organization: World Council of Credit Unions