Credit Unions Must Be Considered “Essential” During COVID-19 Crisis
WOCCU Advocacy calls for designation from national-level authorities and regulators
April 13, 2020
MADISON, Wis.—World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) is calling on national-level authorities and regulators to ensure that credit unions are properly designated as “essential” during the COVID-19 crisis. Some jurisdictions do not currently include credit unions in the definition of essential, even though this classification has been extended to banks.
Credit unions should be allowed to play a critical role in supporting people impacted by the pandemic, allowing them to provide pro-consumer financial services to help consumers weather the crisis. Exclusion from the definition of essential prohibits them from providing these necessary and often life-saving services.
“It is critical that we allow credit unions to be a part of the financial relief solutions for their members and for the citizens of their respective countries. The coronavirus pandemic has already and will continue to strain the broader economy. Credit unions should not be arbitrarily shut down because they were omitted from a definition of ’bank’ or ’financial Institution,’” said World Council Vice President of Advocacy Andrew Price.
WOCCU-member credit union associations in countries around the globe have expressed concerns about the disparity between banks and credit unions regarding this issue since the crisis began in March.
“Credit unions are supporting frontline workers like nurses and janitors who are providing those essential services to help us through the crisis. Government red tape should not get in the way of these efforts,” said Price.
WOCCU has urged flexibility among all regulators throughout the COVID-19 pandemic—citing the historical consistency of credit unions providing much needed stability, and essential services during market hardships and crisis situations.
World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development platform 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 300+ technical assistance programs in 90 countries. Worldwide, 86,451 credit unions in 118 countries serve 375 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.