World Council of Credit Unions leads a delegation of U.S. credit union industry executives to Australia this week for a deep-dive examination of how financial cooperatives there are working to overcome regulatory, taxation and branding challenges to grow membership and lead the way in developing innovative digital solutions.
Joining World Council President/CEO Brian Branch on the week-long visit are CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle, Utah Credit Union League CEO Scott Simpson, Maine Credit Union League CEO Todd Mason, and executives from credit unions and credit union leagues spanning six more states: California, Washington, Oregon, Indiana, Florida and South Carolina.
Executives from the Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA), World Council’s member organization in Australia, will guide the delegation through the country’s complex financial system—where credit unions are subject to the same strict regulation and high taxation as banks.
Participants will study the interaction and impact of Basel applications, corporate taxation, and digital disruption in a highly concentrated and competitive environment. They will look into capital growth under taxation and an aggressive Basel regulatory framework, including the use of secondary capital.
The group will explore how cooperative banks, credit unions, mutual banks and friendly societies all operate under the same umbrella as one voice for customer-owned banking—and the implications that has on the financial cooperative/credit union brand. The number of Australian credit unions has decreased from nearly 400 in 1990 to fewer than 80 today.
The team also will be exploring the success Australian credit unions have had in collaboratively developing innovative digital payment systems to respond to the demands of their members in a highly digital market.
COBA will host presentations and foster discussion on several key topics facing Australian credit unions, including:
The U.S. delegation also will make field visits to COBA-member credit unions in Melbourne and Sydney to learn how the challenges are being addressed at the branch level.
“The Australian system is one of the world’s leading systems of the international network and it provides many comparative lessons for the credit union industry in the United States. Members of our delegation will learn firsthand the impact of alternative taxation and regulation regimes for credit unions,” said Branch. “They will also experience in person what can be gained by advancing digital innovations for their members.”
World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development platform for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.
World Council has implemented 300+ technical assistance programs in 89 countries. Worldwide, 89,026 credit unions in 117 countries serve 260 million people.