Above: Grzegorz Bierecki tells the ACUC/World Council Conference attendees that the credit union idea is a “treasure,” and is “priceless to humanity.” Quoting Pope Benedict, the World Council board chair says credit unions are “proof of love acting in economy.” (CUNA Photo)
DENVER (7/13/15)--“We believe that it is in the interest of humanity that global policymakers and regulators understand credit unions, that they note the value of member-oriented services credit unions provide and that they support the diversity which, thanks to credit unions, is a benefit not just to credit union members, but to all consumers.”
That call for global policymakers to recognize the credit union difference came from World Council of Credit Unions Board Chair Grzegorz Bierecki as he welcomed an international audience of 3,000 leaders during the opening general session of the collaborative America’s Credit Union Conference and World Credit Union Conference.
“Credit unions do not ask for privileges, but for understanding, honest regulations and a fair business environment; what this means is that we want the credit union difference to be taken into account when laws are written, markets are regulated and policy is created,” Bierecki said.
The World Council chair called attention to the stabilizing influence credit unions have on economies. He said the cooperative business model is a “real alternative to the dominant model of financial institutions where the expectations of external investors come first, which caused much harm in the modern markets.”
“Many credit unions are excellent examples of best business practices, safe growth and economic success. Such examples come from credit unions of different sizes: small credit unions, which meet the needs of specific groups of the society, and large credit unions, which often lead the field in financial services; they should be noted and promoted.
“They should be supported, as they stabilize financial markets, support business activity and perform an important social role; they provide financial safety to hundreds of millions of people in countries at various stages of development."
Bierecki said that credit unions’ governance structure and close relationship with people makes them resistant to economic slowdowns.
And, he noted, that close relationship is what allows credit unions to enjoy superior trust from consumers worldwide.
“It has been shown beyond a doubt that once (consumers) understand these principles, they will prefer to use credit cooperatives that put them in practice.”
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