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NAIROBI, Kenya — Forty-eight representatives from Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Africa and Uganda recently came together for the first African SACCO Regulators’ Roundtable held by the World Council of Credit Unions and the Canadian Co-operative Association.

Collectively, the representatives regulate 7,000 SACCOs, which are credit unions, with 5.3 million members and US $2.4 billion in assets. Topics on the agenda ranged from key differences in legislation between microfinance institutions and SACCOs, access to clearing and settlement systems, transparency in reporting, strategies for supervising large numbers of small SACCOs, to prudential and operational standards for SACCOs and service to nonmembers.

Among the attendees at the Aug. 24-27 roundtable was NCUA Vice Chairman Rodney Hood, who spoke on emphasizing safety and soundness, “effective not obsessive” regulation and responding to the needs of the member-owners. Hood also discussed the work done by NCUA’s Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives, gave a tutorial on deposit insurance and talked about the importance of having a strong board.

“They recognize that worldwide, credit unions can leave a mark through uniformity, really focusing on results and some of the most pressing needs can be met through affordable capital and financial literacy,” Hood said of the regulators.

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