The power of credit union collaboration and cooperation was evident during a recent exchange facilitated by the World Council of Credit Unions among credit unions in Indiana and the Netherlands.
Roland Lampe, director of the Association of Credit Unions in the Netherlands (ACUN), traveled to Indiana in March and met with representatives of the Indiana Credit Union League (ICUL) and several local credit unions to learn from their experiences in member business lending. Credit unions included Forum CU, Fishers; Indiana Members CU, Indianapolis; Riverside Community FCU, Marion; Beacon CU, Wabash; Afena FCU, Marion; Via CU, Marion; and PrimeTrust Financial FCU, Muncie.
Only recently did the government approve credit union enabling legislation in the Netherlands, where lending options are limited for businesses. Two of the country’s largest banks currently control 80% of the market, and despite government guarantees, small and medium enterprise (SME) investment has fallen behind other countries in the region. This situation has the potential to change drastically by 2020, however, thanks to an ACUN initiative to establish 100 new credit unions designed specifically to address the needs of small business entrepreneurs.
The purpose of Lampe’s visit to Indiana was to explore areas where the business lending processes and procedures refined by credit unions in the United States may be directly applied by newly formed credit unions in the Netherlands.
At each visit, Indiana credit unions shared resources and perspectives on issues critical to the ACUN movement: compliance and risk management, credit analysis, communication and marketing strategies, internal controls and back office systems.