WASHINGTON (11/9/04)-Representatives of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) met with staff in Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.) office yesterday to clarify a few questions Sarbanes' staff had on how the International Remittances Network (IRnet) works and how credit unions target their members to provide remittance services.
In attendance was CUNA's Gary Kohn, vice president of legislative affairs and senior legislative counsel, and Katie Herberger, manager of legislative affairs. Representing WOCCU was Dave Grace, senior manager of association services, and Molly Schar, governmental affairs manager.
CUNA and WOCCU's representatives also discusses how Sarbanes' remittances bill would impact the current service that is provided through credit unions and IRnet. WOCCU also provided sample receipts and marketing information that credit unions provide to their members regarding the services. WOCCU already discloses exchange rates and fees and in Spanish and English in marketing materials.
CUNA and WOCCU endorsed Sarbanes' bill, the International Remittance Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (S. 2868).
This legislation closely mirrors consumer disclosure practices credit unions already voluntarily offer, and seeks to expand credit unions' ability to offer remittances, money orders and check cashing services to better serve consumers, CUNA and WOCCU stated in their letters.
"CUNA and WOCCU believe it would be possible for our member credit unions to implement the requirements of this legislation, and we fully support the intent of this legislation to provide greater disclosures and consumer protections, particularly in the immigrant communities," the associations wrote in an Oct. 19 letter endorsing the bill. "We do ask, however, that a sufficient period of time be allowed to implement these requirements upon enactment of the legislation."
CUNA and WOCCU strongly support the provision to allow credit unions to offer remittance, money order and check cashing services to non-members within the field of membership. "This will enable credit unions to reach many individuals in the underserved and immigrant communities that typically do not use formal banking institutions and are forced to use high-priced money transmitting businesses. Credit unions would then have an opportunity to educate and build trusting relationships with these individuals, encouraging them to join a financial institution so they have access to all financial benefits," they said.
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, 51,000 credit unions in 100 countries serve 196 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.