MADISON, Wis. — The World Council of Credit Unions has beenasked by the Chinese government to lead an effort in one of thecountry's poorest provinces to improve and develop rural creditcooperatives, the Chinese term for credit unions.

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The Chinese government established a legal framework to allowfor the existence of credit unions at the end of 2006, WOCCU said.On World Council's second visit to China, WOCCU CEO Pete Crear,along with Brian Branch, chief operating officer and Ralph Swoboda,WOCCU's consultant on China, spent a week with governmentofficials, RCC representatives and regulators from the People'sBank of China and the China Regulatory Banking Commission to beginplanning RCC reform in the southwest Guizhou Province–one of thepoorest and least developed in China, WOCCU said.

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The Chinese government has identified RCCs as prime vehicles forproviding affordable financial access to small-scale entrepreneursand consumers, but RCCs have long struggled with an unclearownership structure, poor governance and erratic financialperformance. The group discussed WOCCU's potential to providetechnical assistance and training to strengthen and reform theoperations of the RCCs, WOCCU added.

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