European CU Movements Meet To Plot New Strategy

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Representatives of the British, Irish, Lithuanian and Polish credit union movements met here to discuss a common strategy for addressing the impact of European Union (EU) legislation on credit unions and their members.

The World Council of Credit Unions served as facilitator for the meeting, which attracted 17 credit union leaders. There are six-million credit union members in Europe, with $9 billion in savings.

Bobby McVeigh, 1st vice chairman of WOCCU's board of directors, chaired the meeting, and praised the Association of British Credit Unions Ltd. (ABCUL) for having mobilized British members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to brief delegates about the functioning of EU institutions, including the EU Commission, EU Council of Ministers and the EU Parliament.

The pending changes in EU legislation affecting credit unions were the basis of intense discussions by and with the MEPs, according to WOCCU ew directives in the areas of consumer credit, money laundering, payment systems, consumer protection, accounting standards and capital requirements, need to be analyzed and possibly amended to respond to the demands for protecting the uniqueness of credit unions serving their members in the EU.

"There is no doubt about the urgent need for influencing EU legislation protecting the interests of credit unions and their members," said WOCCU CEO, Arthur Arnold. "EU legislation is gradually overriding national legislation, and therefore potentially influences the future of credit unions in the EU."

Representatives of the European Association of Cooperative Banks made additional presentations on how the cooperative banking sector has positioned itself within the EU and with EU decision makers.

WOCCU also met with the World and European Association of Savings Banks on the same subject to learn from their experiences on how best to represent the interests of member organizations.

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