Madison, WI—World Council of Credit Unions representatives trained 150 Russian credit union executives and government officials on effective regulation and strategies to increase outreach at the Russian Credit Union Forum in Siberia February 26-27.
Discussion of amending the current credit union law to include prudential standards for regulation and removing the limit on credit union membership (currently at just 2,000 members) was at the forefront. During the forum, World Council staff and a US league volunteer trained attendees on the PEARLS financial monitoring system and marketing strategies in order to prepare credit union leaders for future changes in the law.
"The PEARLS model provides a foundation for credit union leaders to discuss the standards that will be used to regulate Russian credit unions," explained Dave Richardson, senior manager of technical services and key architect of PEARLS. "It's one of the instruments they're using to discuss standards applicable to the Russian environment."
Since the Russian Credit Union League (RCUL) became a World Council Member in 2005, it has worked to institute PEARLS in its member credit unions. PEARLS is the first system-wide software to be used among RCUL members, and the training at the forum was the first of its kind in Russia. World Council added the Russian language to PEARLS in 2005.
Richardson presented the theory and application of the PEARLS ratios and business planning tool, and Peteris Zeltins, World Council MIS officer and PEARLS developer, trained attendees on use of the software during the meeting. Fluent in Russian accounting, Zeltins spent a few days in Moscow before the forum to do more intensive training with RCUL staff.
In his second trip to Russia with World Council, Gene Brody, president and CEO of Bay Ridge Federal Credit Union, shared credit union marketing strategies using examples from his New York-based credit union. Brody was a unique match for the training, given Russian immigrants helped establish Bay Ridge FCU in 1934.
RCUL held its annual general meeting following the forum's two days of business development training.
Furthering the RCUL-World Council training initiative, World Council's John Kalfayan, senior manager of technical services, and World Council volunteer, Anne Cochran, president and CEO of the Louisiana Credit Union League, will arrive in Moscow mid-March to further develop the Russian credit union training program. World Council, RCUL and Poland's National Association of Co-operative Savings and Credit Unions will also co-host the first regional credit union congress for Eastern European countries in Moscow, Russia, September 10-14.
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.