This post is provided by the Russian Credit Union League, World Council's direct member organization in Russia.
World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) President and CEO Brian Branch recently joined the Russian Credit Union League for its virtual international meeting—Credit Cooperation without Borders—to discuss the impact of the pandemic on credit union operations.
Leaders of national credit union associations from Ireland, Kazakhstan, North Macedonia, Romania and the United States also took part in the meeting.
Branch outlined issues confronting the global credit union movement, saying the COVID-19 crisis clearly highlighted similar problems for credit unions across borders. He said research conducted by WOCCU indicated that credit unions were reducing loan portfolios, seeing an increase in delinquencies and experiencing greater regulatory burden in many countries.
WOCCU advocates on behalf of credit unions in front of several international standard setting bodies to ensure they stress the importance of proportional regulations for credit unions, especially during the pandemic.
Branch pointed out that consumers of financial services distinguish credit unions as more friendly and affordable than other financial institutions, but stressed the COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the need for credit unions to provide greater digital services and mobile technology solutions to grow its membership.
Tatiana Ivashkina, RCUL Chief Executive Officer, shared information about measures taken by the government, regulator and credit cooperative associations during the pandemic. Ruslan Imaev, RCUL Chairman, talked about the biggest factors impacting credit unions and provided statistics to illustrate his points. Tatiana Novikova (CCC "First Murmansk MIS") and Oleg Vakhrushev (CCC "Education") also spoke about effective management decisions in credit cooperatives.
Other speakers shared their experiences with credit union operations during the pandemic, especially as it relates to governmental support, regulatory requirements and internal work in credit unions. Foreign colleagues expressed confidence that despite difficulties, credit cooperatives would continue to serve their members effectively.
The Russian Credit Union League thanks Brian Branch (WOCCU, USA), Almira Sagatova (Kazakhstan), Florin Simion and Victor Trochin (Romania), Eric Richard and Mark Rosa (USA), Eamonn Sharkey (Ireland); and Eleonora Zhgonjanin, Zulfi Jaferi and Stevo Androvich (North Macedonia) for participating in the meeting and providing information.
These meetings are necessary to help participants get different perspectives on the similar problems facing credit unions during the pandemic, and allowing them to find solutions together. Friendship and cooperation are two of the main values of credit cooperatives. Colleagues assured each other that credit unions would continue to thrive and our international exchange of ideas would go on.