Efforts To Launch CUs In Macedonia

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Credit unions are beginning to take root in the Republic of Macedonia, thanks to the efforts of the Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL), the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), and Macedonia's credit union forerunner, FULM Savings House.

A delegation of Michigan credit unions has visited the former Yugoslav republic in the Balkans, where they met with Macedonia President Boris Trajkovski and key members of Parliament to advocate legislative and regulatory advances to grow the credit union movement.

"Having come from a small village, President Trajkovski remarked on how important small business and agricultural loans would be to his fellow countrymen," said MCUL Executive Vice President Drew Egan. "The President said he is not only willing, but enthusiastic about signing credit union legislation into law." The Parliament is expected to pass credit union legislation by year-end 2003.

Egan is representing the MCUL in a joint partnership with the WOCCU and the FULM Savings House, a savings and credit cooperative. Over the last year, Egan has been providing strategic advice, staff training and resources to the fledgling financial cooperative, also known as FULM Savings House, which now has six branches throughout the country.

As part of the late October endeavor, the delegation hosted a day-long Financial Forum to present a case for further credit union development. More than 150 officials attended the Forum, including members of The Parliament, administration, Central Bank, and the World Bank.

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