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BRISBANE, Australia – Bobby McVeigh considers himself a person who “has not lost his passion for caring about people.” He’ll have the opportunity to demonstrate that as the new chairman of the World Council of Credit Unions. McVeigh, the former first vice chairman of the organization and a WOCCU director since 1997, was elected to the board position during WOCCU’s 2003 International Forum here last month. McVeigh, a native of Nova Scotia, Canada, succeeds Gerry Foley of Ireland. McVeigh, a retired professional educator, has been active in credit unions from the time he was a young man in Dominion, a small coal mining and fishing village on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada. McVeigh described the financial condition of the town as “grim”. The credit union was often the only financial services source for the residents, according to McVeigh. His father said it was time for him to give back to the community and instructed his son to go to the credit union’s annual meeting. “In those days when your father said go, you went,” McVeigh told Credit Union Times. That night he was elected to his first credit union office that would eventually lead to a life-long history of volunteerism along with his paid work as a teacher and later as head of a community college. McVeigh wound up being chairman of that credit union from 1968-1987. McVeigh is used to working several jobs at once. As one of five children, he worked in his father’s general store. The store was successful enough to put all the McVeigh children through college. During his formative years McVeigh also worked in a steel mill and drove a bread truck. Even after university graduation McVeigh did not only teach, he was mayor of his town and active in local credit union affairs. Over the years he took his credit union experience to the regional, then the national level, and finally the international level beginning in 1992 when he became a Canadian delegate to WOCCU. McVeigh has actively participated in the many of the changes at WOCCU since he joined the board. Among some of his other responsibilities with the organization, he chaired the law policy committee. He realizes the continuing need to make sure that WOCCU reflects the needs of the movement worldwide. WOCCU needs to be as inclusive as possible, he said. He has championed the opening of WOCCU to make it more than an American organization working in the world. The current board has members from many countries. He has also worked and plans will continue to work on the dues structure to make sure that smaller, poorer countries are not excluded from WOCCU for financial reasons. Although McVeigh “retired” from professional education at 50, his idea of retirement included spending two years at the University of Toronto doing class work toward his doctorate. He is currently in the process of narrowing down his thesis topic, but it will reflect some of his credit union experiences. He knows that the topic will involve governance issues in volunteer organizations. Working with WOCCU gives McVeigh a hands-on experience that surpasses theory. Over the next two years of his term, McVeigh will log a lot of air miles, although he has already visited all the major continents WOCCU represents. He said he is not interested in “just showing up in any country to shake hands,” but hopes to make a difference wherever he goes, whether it be to testify to help get better credit union legislation or strengthen the internal governance of any league. At the moment WOCCU is working on projects in 17 countries. -

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