Credit unions in Ukraine have reopened following a joint advocacy effort that saw cooperation between World Council’s Credit for Agriculture Producers’ (CAP) Project team, the Ukrainian National Association of Savings and Credit Unions (UNASCU) and All-Ukrainian Association of Credit Unions (AUACU)—which are direct and affiliate members of WOCCU, respectively—as well as the national regulator and other stakeholders.
The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine (CMU) shuttered all credit unions in mid-March, along with other non-bank financial institutions and service providers, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CMU ordered them to remain closed until April 24.
The shutdown was having a negative impact on credit union performance and credit union members, most of whom were not financially prepared for such a shutdown. Credit unions in Ukraine cannot operate remotely because they do not offer online services.
This led WOCCU’s CAP Project team and our member associations to launch to their advocacy campaign to support credit unions. They advocated that amendments be added to the CMU’s original resolution that would allow credit unions to reopen.
The National Commission for the State Regulation of Financial Services Markets, which currently regulates credit unions, the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU), which will serve as the regulator beginning July 1, and the Committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on Finance, Tax and Customs Policy also stepped in and sent letters to the CMU. They all also suggested amendments to the CMU’s original resolution that would effectively lift the ban on credit unions.
Close cooperation and fruitful interaction between all stakeholders resulted in the CMU lifting the ban on April 2.
In CMU Resolution #225, the Government allowed the provision of financial services, as well as permitted financial institutions, including credit unions, to operate, but under the condition that staff members and visitors be provided with personal protective equipment—especially face and eye protection. Namely, credit unions must supply respirators or face masks, including self-made ones, and must comply with appropriate sanitary and safety measures.
The CAP Project team, together with all stakeholders, will continue to support credit unions with the purpose of the further development and strengthening of the market in Ukraine during this difficult time.