Poland's successful credit union movement will have representation among President Lech Kaczynski's advisers, as part of the newly created National Development Council.
Grzegorz Bierecki, president of Poland's National Association of Cooperative Savings & Credit Unions and second vice chair of World Council of Credit Unions, was appointed by President Kaczynski Feb. 15 as one of the council's 44 members.
The group is tasked with addressing critical social and financial issues facing the country. Bierecki was assigned to a 10-member financial team within the group, and is the only representative from Poland's financial institutions. The other nine team members are academics and former financial minister appointees.
In addition to finance, council discussion topics will include Poland's demographics, infrastructure, educational and scientific development and other subjects.
"The nomination of Grzegorz Bierecki is another example of the importance that President Kaczynski attaches to Poland's credit unions, as well as to the personal role Grzegorz has had in their re-establishment," said Pete Crear, WOCCU president and CEO. "Under his leadership, Poland's credit union movement has become a true success story, not only in its rapid development, but in terms of the comprehensive financial services its credit unions provide to two million Polish families."
The group will hold its next meeting in Warsaw on Feb. 25 to discuss conditions and perspectives on Poland's public finance situation. Poland's credit union system-which differs from the U.S.'s in that an individual credit union's branding is secondary to a national branding-has experienced significant growth in the past decade despite fierce banker lobbying.
"Credit unions have played an important role in the transition of the Polish economy and society from communism to a market economy and democracy," Bierecki said. "Now is the time to define their role in serving the future of Poland."