GAC: American CUs can lead international credit union movement

March 10, 2015

WASHINGTON (3/11/15)--Grzegorz Bierecki, chair of the World Council of Credit Unions, knows that American credit unions greatly contributed to the expansion of the credit union movement in his home country of Poland, and he believes that assistance can be extended worldwide. 

Click to view larger imageCredit unions can be found throughout Poland thanks to the help of the American credit union movement, explains Grzegorz Bierecki Tuesday during the morning general session at CUNA's Governmental Affairs Conference. (CUNA Photo)

Bierecki, addressing attendees at CUNA's Governmental Affairs Conference, brought with him the message that credit unions in the United States can and should take the lead in helping countries throughout the world build their own credit union movements.

Credit unions have stretched into every corner of Poland, thanks to the help and support provided by American credit unions, Bierecki said.

"You, the excellent people of the credit union movement, shared with us your knowledge, your experience and your dreams of what credit unions should be. We owe our success to you," Bierecki said.

But the international work undertaken by credit unions in the United States cannot end with Poland, Bierecki added.

There are a number of opportunities abroad for American credit unions to play a critical role in the development of the global credit union movement, including in Cuba and Ukraine.

"Not too long ago I saw a photo showing the managers of a credit union in Ukraine standing in the door of their office with guns in their hands and grenades in their belts," Bierecki said. "These people, who are willing to give their life for their credit union, are in fact ready to give their life for their country, and for their freedom. We cannot leave them without help. Credit unions must do their part; we must share our knowledge, our experience and our dreams."

The World Council board will travel next month to meet with the leaders of the Ukraine credit union movement.