The Romanian Federation of Credit Unions and the Ohio Credit Union League have formed a partnership aimed at helping the central European country strengthen its credit union system.
The pact was signed during a visit to Romania by OCUL President Paul Mercer and Cincinnati Central Credit Union President/CEO Bill Herring for the American side and by FEDCAR Executive Director Florin Simion for the Romanians.
The 23rd such agreement of mutual support sponsored by the World Council of Credit Unions will have a particular focus on shaking the vestiges of Soviet rule by addressing public perceptions there about credit unions’ “cooperative nature,” the organizations said.
That effort will begin by helping FEDCAR officials shed obsolete regulations and develop new ones that align more with those in other European Union countries. Lobbying assistance also will be provided.
"I am very impressed in the trust credit unions have in FEDCAR, which is one of the system's strongest assets to build a better future," Mercer said. "It's not about size, but about their commitment to serve their members."
WOCCU staff members Brian Branch, executive vice president and COO, and Victor Miguel Corro, senior manager in charge of the International Partnerships Program, were also part of the group, as were Romanian parliamentarians Alexandru Peres and Corneliu Olar, who discussed ways to develop legislation there.
"One of the first steps toward effective credit union development is making sure appropriate and enabling legislation is in place to help a movement grow," Branch said. "FEDCAR already has a strong organization in place, and our hope is that through its partnership with OCUL, Romania's credit union movement will gain access to the international information resources and support it needs to help it succeed on the legislative front."
WOCCU said FEDCAR, which represents just 17 of Romania's 2,900 credit unions, has already strengthened its member institutions through stringent management training requirements, strong representation and requiring its members to use PEARLS, a financial performance monitoring program first established by WOCCU in 1990.