WASHINGTON-Eight members of Congress recently penned a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in support of proposals that the World Council of Credit Unions has made regarding three developing countries. WOCCU, in partnership with various other organizations, has proposed projects in Romania, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam under the Food for Progress Program (Public Law 480). In Romania, WOCCU is seeking to focus on expanding credit union outreach through a warehouse receipts program. The proposed program in Sri Lanka is entitled Integrated Rural Community Development in Sri Lanka: Credit Union Finance Facility Restructuring and Food Security. Finally, in Vietnam, WOCCU hopes to nurture credit union safety and soundness along with agricultural extension and private sector empowerment. “Internationally, credit unions are a fantastic vehicle for providing increased access to financial services for low-income people in rural areas as well as exposing people to the principles of democracy as part of the credit union structure of mutual ownership,” the lawmakers wrote. “The project proposals will seek to open market for U.S. agricultural product in Romania, Sri Lanka and Vietnam and help to promote sustained economic growth in each of these emerging economies.” Representatives Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.), Gil Guknecht (R-Minn.), Robin Hayes (R-N.C.), Sam Farr D-Calif.), Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Jim Walsh (R-N.Y.), and Frank Wolf (R-Va.) signed onto the letter.

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