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MADISON, Wis. – Arthur Arnold, president/CEO of World Council of Credit Unions for the past nearly five years, announced he will not extend his employment contract with WOCCU but instead plans to resign from the position effective Jan. 1, 2005. The 58-year old Arnold, who succeeded Chris Baker who retired from the leadership position at WOCCU, intends to return to his native Netherlands and will become, starting that same date, the new CEO of FMO (Finance for Development), the International Development Bank of the Netherlands, which is a unique partnership owned by the public sector, the Dutch Government, the private sector, the business community, banks and labor unions in the Netherlands. It provides loans, takes equity participations and provides technical assistance for more than $2 billion to 40 developing countries and emerging markets in the world. The WOCCU Board is currently forming a search committee for Arnold’s replacement. Married with three children and two grandchildren, Arnold said after dedicating five years of his life to WOCCU, “I have to find the right balance in life again. Without my family’s support I wouldn’t have been able to work for WOCCU the way I did. For that I am very grateful to them.” His wife Barbara has remained in The Netherlands while Arnold’s worked at WOCCU, and he said, “that was just as well because I was never in Madison,” alluding to the amount of traveling he did on WOCCU business. His oldest daughter lives with her husband and children in the Middle East, and another daughter studies and lives in Amsterdam. His son lives and works in New York. Reflecting on what he described as his “incredible journey” with WOCCU, Arnold thanked his colleagues for their support and dedication in helping make WOCCU the organization it is now. “There is nothing more rewarding than being able to combine your passion with your work,” he said. Admitting that he didn’t know anything about credit unions before he came to WOCCU, Arnold said, “I have come to know credit union people to be wonderful people, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to meet so many of them. It’s changed my perspective on life for the better. I believe credit union people are truly practicing people helping people to help themselves. I believe that’s the only way to make people independent and make sure their growth is sustainable. Credit unions aren’t charity, they’re empowering institutions.” Arnold said of WOCCU that the organization is very different than it was almost five years ago when he first arrived there. “It’s stronger from all points of view and well respected in the world for creating value for its member organizations, their credit unions and their members,” he said. WOCCU is the leading advocate, platform for innovation and development organization for credit unions in 84 countries with over 40,000 member credit unions serving more than 123 million people worldwide with collective assets of $758 billion, $656 billion in savings, $483 billion in loans, and $75 billion in capital. Under Arnold’s leadership of WOCCU, he spearheaded “Operation Open Up” expanding worldwide representation on the WOCCU Board. He has also increased awareness of the widening gap between what he’s repeatedly referred to as the “Have More” and “Have Less” people around the world and advocated for the role of credit unions in closing the gap between the two groups. Arnold has also opened dialogue with various international groups, to participate in policy making, standards setting and ultimately decision-making that influences the international financial marketplace, foreign aid investment and the well-being of credit unions worldwide. During his tenure at WOCCU, the organization has generated a Return on Technical Assistance dollars of outreach to almost 6 million new credit union members, enabling 30 million “have less” people to grow, with $3.5 billion in savings and $2.5 billion in loans. Arnold is also the champion of WOCCU’s IRnet affordable international remittance program. But among all his accomplishments at WOCCU, he told Credit Union Times he’s most proud of having “raised people’s awareness of the gap between the `have more’ and the `have less’. Credit unions are making a difference in bridging this gap and enabling millions of people. The only way to close the gap is to enable the `have less’ people to grow. You can’t enrich people’s lives without giving them access to affordable services, and that’s what credit unions are all about.” Arnold assumed the leadership position of WOCCU Feb. 1, 2000 with more than 30 years of experience, most recently from the Cooperative Rabobank Group (in Utrecht, The Netherlands), where he was director of the international network and financial markets division from 1992-1998, and of strategic alliances and corporate communications from 1998-2000. He was also a member of the Policy Board, the highest policy making body within the Cooperative Rabobank Group. Prior to that Arnold was with the ABN-AMRO Bank where he held several senior management positions in the U.S., Great Britain, France, Italy, Iran, Morocco, and The Netherlands. Although he still has three months to go before he leaves WOCCU, Arnold already knows that what he’ll miss most about the organization is meeting with so many different people from so many different cultures around the world. “Although we’re all different in our cultures and traditions, we’re all human beings after all and want to make progress in life,” he said. What parting message does he have for credit unions? “There is a strong link between enabling legislation and regulation, and safe and sound credit unions. I want to encourage credit union leaders not to fight legislation and regulation, but to make sure it is enabling in nature,” Arnold said. -

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