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MADISON, Wis. -World Council of Credit Unions Board Chairman L.R. (Bobby) McVeigh and Interim Chief Executive Officer Brian Branch were invited by Iranian CUs to meet in Iran to discuss the credit union system. Credit unions in Iran have operated under the supervision of the Ministry of Cooperatives and are now coming under the additional scrutiny of the Central Bank. There are currently 1,600 credit unions in Iran servicing five million members. According to WOCCU, after the Islamic Revolution and fall of the Shar, commercial banks in Iran were nationalized. Personal financial services were difficult for most people to access, but credit unions grew very fast. Most CUs in the country are small closed bond groups of less than 5,000 members, but some are also very large with state of the art technology. WOCCU officials traveled to Iran in February to study how credit unions there are practicing democratic exercise and providing financial services in the Iranian Islamic Banking environment. WOCCU is currently building CUs in other Islamic environments in Philippines, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. WOCCU officials have pledged to assist the Iranian credit unions with adjusting to the process of increased supervision. “Credit unions develop as the democratic expression of people seeking to help themselves in all environments around the world,” said Branch.

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