Credit Union Study Team Kicks Off WOCCU Initiative in China
The delegation, (l-r, front): Lee Butke, Penny Reeves, Barry Jolette,
Gary Plank, Bill Cheney, Patsy Van Ouwerkerk, (back): Larry Sharpe,
Dwayne Naylor, Amy Yin, Brian Branch, Sarah Canepa-Bang, Ralph Swoboda
and Yinghui Chen, met with PBC and RCC representatives of Guizhou
Madison, WI—Credit union leaders from
United States and Canada joined World Council of
Credit Unions (WOCCU) to launch its new
development initiative with the People’s Bank of
China (PBC), June 11-20, 2007. Led by Barry
Jolette, WOCCU Second Vice Chairman, and Brian
Branch, WOCCU’s Executive Vice President, the
delegation met with top Chinese officials and
visited rural credit cooperatives (RCCs) in
China’s poorest province.
Although China’s financial sector has been
liberalized in recent years, most of the 1.3
billion people there still lack access to basic
financial services, particularly in rural areas.
Located in some of the poorest regions, the more
than 30,000 RCCs throughout China have great
potential to provide affordable financial
services to the underserved majority.
“The credit union model is a robust vehicle
expanding financial services to rural producers,
small business owners and consumers in China’s
rapidly growing economy,” Branch
explained. “WOCCU has received a number of
requests for information and assistance to share
that model in China.”
The group learned about China’s rich heritage and culture with visits to historic sites such as the Forbidden City.
The WOCCU delegation conducted a seminar for
officials and met with officials from the China
Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) in Beijing
to explain credit union financial management
standards, governance principles and business
system models. The team then traveled to China’s
poorest province, Guizhou, to visit RCCs and
conducted a seminar on the credit union model
for provincial RCC officials. During the visit,
WOCCU and PBC officials established the
framework for a memorandum of understanding to
jointly develop credit union operational
guidelines and a sector policy framework for
credit unions in China.
Of the trip, Jolette commented, "This was an
incredible experience for the members of the
delegation. We all came back with an
appreciation for the enormity of the
opportunities and challenges involved in
bringing true credit union service to the people
of China.” He continued, “With the Chinese
government seeking help to improve the lives of
the rural people, the time is right for WOCCU to
bring the democratic credit union model to
China. It is a huge task, but we have the
opportunity to make a difference in the lives of
hundreds of millions of people."
Members of the delegation included: Lee
President & CEO, Corporate One Federal Credit
Union; Sarah Canepa Bang, CEO, Financial Service
Centers Cooperative; Bill Cheney, President &
CEO, California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues,
Barry Jolette, WOCCU Second Vice Chairman and
President & CEO, San Mateo Credit Union; K.
Dwayne Naylor, Executive Vice President, Langley
Federal Credit Union; Penny Reeves, WOCCU
Director, Board Member of Credit Union Central
of Canada and Chairman of Credit Union Central
of Alberta; Gary Plank, WOCCU Chairman,
President & CEO, Arizona Credit Union System;
Larry Sharp, President & CEO, Arrowhead Central
Credit Union and Patsy Van Ouwerkerk, President
& CEO, Travis Credit Union. Ralph Swoboda,
WOCCU’s advisor on China, supported the trip.
WOCCU is now completing an assessment of the
RCCs in Guizhou province and developing an
operational model and policy framework for
credit unions there.
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 105 countries serve 217 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