MADISON, Wis. (10/17/14)--The importance that credit unions play in the international financial environment was highlighted across the globe on Thursday--International Credit Union (ICU) Day.
World Council of Credit Unions President/CEO Brian Branch noted three reasons why the world needs credit unions:
Today 57,000 credit unions serve 208 million members in more than 100 countries. In Ireland, credit unions serve 75% of the country's population, and 2.5 million members are part of the largest nonbanking financial system in Poland.
Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, marked ICU Day with a reception at Clarence House where she told the audience, "I believe credit unions can change the way we talk and think about savings and loans. They can encourage those who have the means to save, and bring in from the cold those vulnerable people who struggle to qualify for loans."
|During an International Credit Union Day reception at Clarence House in London, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, said, "I do believe credit unions could be a real force for change in the financial landscape and are truly a cause worth championing a real force for change in the financial landscape." (Clarence House Photo)|
"We greatly appreciate the support she continues to give to the movement," said Mark Lyonette, chief executive of the Association of British Credit Unions Ltd. "Credit unions are attracting support from a number of high profile backers as more and more people recognize the valuable service they can offer to people from all walks of life."
The duchess became one of the United Kingdom's more than 1.1 million credit union members last year.
On Thursday, Ontario Minister of Finance Charles Sousa announced that the ministry will begin reviewing the Credit Unions and Caisses Populaires Act 1994. The review takes place every five years and seeks to strengthen the regulatory framework, protect consumers, and enable credit unions and caisses populaires to continue to meet the needs of their members, the ministry noted.
"These institutions are an essential part of our province's economic fabric," Sousa said in the announcement, which included a nod to ICU Day. Ontario's credit unions and caisses populaires have almost 1.6 million members.
In Australia, the Finance Sector Union noted the work of the roughly 8,000 Australians who work to provide service to the country's more than 4 million members. (See related stories: ICU Day celebrations highlight strength of a movement; State, national leaders celebrate ICU Day.)