International Remittance ProjectCleared

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. - (03/17/06) – NCUA on Thursday cleared aninternational shared branching project that would connectimmigrants from Ecuador and other Central America countries tocredit unions in their home countries. The project, being developedby the World Council of CUs, will enable immigrants or guestworkers to bypass the expensive international remittance system byconnecting them directly to their credit unions. Guy Messick, aPhiladelphia attorney representing WOCCU, said if the pilot programis successful it could be expanded to other countries to giveindividuals inexpensive access to the international remittancesystem. “This is also a way for credit unions to provideservices to people of modest means; or all means,” Messicktold The Credit Union Journal. NCUA approval comes as Congress isdebating whether to allow credit unions to provide remittanceservices to anyone, even non-members, within their fields ofmembership. Under the WOCCU plan, the shared branch will transmitthe deposit or withdrawal to a U.S. corporate credit union, whichwill send it credit union-owned Town North National Bank, whichholds an account with Caja Central Cooperativa Financoop, theEcuadorian corporate credit union. The Ecuadorian corporate willtransmit the transaction to an account on the member’s behalfto the Ecuadoran shared branch, which will transmit it on themember’s Ecuadorian credit union. NCUA pointed out that fundsaccepted from non-members at Federal CUs for transmission toEcuadorian credit unions are not covered by NCUSIF.

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