In Final Address, Crear Advises WOCCU To 'Look Beyond Borders'

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GLASGOW, Scotland-Pete Crear came to the World Council of Credit Unions unknown to many people around the world. He departed with a global standing ovation.

Crear, who is retiring after six years as CEO of the World Council, noted his term at WOCCU had come full circle in Glasgow, where the association held its annual World CU Conference. Crear noted he first addressed a WOCCU audience in Rome after he had just been named CEO.

"From time to time there are bittersweet moments, and this is one of those times," said Crear. "My emotions are in conflict with one another. This is a meeting that will be tucked away in the warmest parts of my heart. But we are also here to do credit union work. Let's do that."

Crear reminded credit unions they are only as "good as the benefits we bring to the people we serve." He noted there will always be goals that aren't achieved, but that credit unions should continue to set those goals.

"These last few years have been steeped in an economic recession and now we are in a slow recovery in the U.S., which some are calling a 'stall recovery.' In 2005, the economic conditions were different. But the need for credit unions has not changed," he said.

Crear noted that in his inaugural remarks in 2005 he challenged credit unions to do several things, including reach out to more members and to better understand their needs; to work with legislators and play a more active role in explaining the credit union difference; and to strengthen the credit union movement by getting more involved in WOCCU. He said all three have been accomplished, noting relative to his last point that World Council has now grown to include 43 member organizations representing 54 countries. There are also 25 international partnerships in place. "This is great progress as credit unions see the value of looking beyond their own borders," said Crear, who oversaw WOCCU's greatest growth during his tenure.

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