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MANILA, Philippines – Three Asian co-operative trade organizations combined forces for five days in September to bring together credit union people from 25 Asian countries, all wanting to discuss credit union issues. A CEO two-day workshop attracted 31 credit union CEOs followed by a three-day forum with 343 participants from 25 Asian/Pacific countries. The two events were held at the Dust Hotel. Although credit union movements in different countries face the same problems, good governance, legislation, branding, information technology, the differences between a more developed country such as Japan or a less development country such as Vietnam, the levels vary. Technology is not useful in rural areas where electricity is limited. Confidence in credit unions is greatest when there is a strong legislative background, but over regulation creates other problems. A new training manual for Credit Union Director’s Competence Course was introduced at the workshop. “Killer” marketing tactics were looked at to increase youth participation in credit unions as well as to encourage women entrepreneurship during this the United National Year of Micro Finance. One of the major topics was branding not as “slick advertising (consumers are more savvy than ever), but rather from the degree to which an organization keeps its brand promise. That means that boards and employees alike must understand and embrace the credit union’s brand and be prepared to deliver on it. When this occurs, credit unions not only win in the marketplace, they create a cohesive, compelling and enriching culture that translates to direct and positive impact in helping members grow,” according to promotional literature for the forum. The workshop and forum were co-sponsored by The Philippine Federation of Credit Cooperatives, the National Confederation of Co-operatives in the Philippines and the Association of Asian Confederation of Credit Unions based in Bangkok, Thailand. The Association of Asian Confederation of Credit Unions (ACCU) serves credit unions and other similar financial institutions in 13 countries throughout East, South East, and South Asia. Besides being funded by member dues it also receives contributions from the Canadian Cooperative Association, MISEREOR of Germany, CORDAID, Hivos, Agriterrs of the Netherlands, the Irish League of Credit Unions, CUNA Mutual Group and the Credit Union Foundation of Australia. The Philippine Federation of Credit Cooperatives (PFCCO) founded in 1961 states its mission as the uniting of credit cooperatives into a national cooperative financial intermediary. PFCCO is composed of eight registered Regional Leagues that provides business and non-business services to its members NATCCO is a cooperative confederation of savings-based cooperatives and is committed to: “Work towards alternative socio-economic-political systems guided by self-reliance, democracy, nationalism, solidarity, justice, and gender equality.” The event is an annual event. [email protected]

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