GDANSK, Poland — World Council of Credit Unions officials meeting in Poland during the week of Sept. 14 also made time to meet with Polish government officials to voice their opposition to credit union-hostile legislation that was recently proposed to the Polish Parliament.
“The National Association of Co-Operative Savings & Credit Unions (NACSCU) has seen its members’ continued success challenged by Polish banking groups’ introduction of amendments to existing credit union laws that are hostile to the movement,” said Brian Branch, WOCCU’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, who led the group that met with officials Sept. 18.
The proposed amendments seek to end all lifetime membership provisions, requiring members to leave their credit unions if they leave their jobs. In addition, the amendments would limit credit union access to certain funding sources and reduce credit union oversight authority for NACSCU, a WOCCU member organization.
“This is a key moment for the Polish movement,” Branch said. “If these amendments are passed, they would damage Poland’s credit union system.”
The amendments in question are one of two sets of changes to the law that were submitted to Parliament, according to Grzegorz Bierecki, NACSCU president and WOCCU treasurer. Polish and U.S. credit union movement executives attempted to persuade lawmakers to adapt pending amendments to make them less harsh toward Polish credit unions, Bierecki said.
Joining Branch on the engagement tour and in advocacy efforts were Joe Bergeron, president of the Association of Vermont Credit Unions; Bill Cheney, president/CEO of the California & Nevada Credit Unions Leagues; Barry Jolette, CEO of San Mateo Credit Union in Redwood City, Calif., and WOCCU first vice chairman; Jim McCormack, president of the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association; Mike Mercer, president of Georgia Credit Union Affiliates; John Radebaugh, president of the North Carolina Credit Union League; and Mike Schenk, vice president of economics and statistics for CUNA.
As of Dec. 31, 2007, NACSCU had 67 affiliated credit unions serving 1.7 million members through 1,683 points of service. Consolidated assets in the NACSCU system totaled US$2.99 billion. Member credit unions have captured US$2.75 billion in savings deposits and shares, which had helped finance an aggregate loan portfolio of US$2.11 billion by year-end 2007.