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  • Writer's pictureKelsie Papenhausen

WOCCU Members Visit Key International Standards Setting Bodies to Advance Financial Inclusion

Move will strengthen the cooperative model of credit unions and customer owned banks


BASEL, Switzerland —The World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), together with representatives from Australia, Canada, Poland, and the United States, made a sweep through three countries to visit with key International Standard Setting Bodies. The group also visited key influential European regulatory bodies to urge support for the credit union cooperative model, noting the important role that it plays in accomplishing financial inclusion around the world. WOCCU has been active with the G20 urging further direction to the international standard setting bodies to work more closely with national-level regulators on proportionality, which allows for proper tailoring of rules to maximize the benefit of the cooperative model in serving rural, underserved, and marginalized communities. International standards are often intended to apply to large, internationally active banks. Failure to allow for smaller, less complex financial institutions can lead to a lack of diversity in the marketplace that is essential for ensuring access to affordable and responsible financial services for all.


This week's visits included the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, the Financial Stability Board (FSB), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the European Central Bank, and others.

In the meeting with the Basel Committee, members praised the recent issuance of High-level Considerations on Proportionality, with guidance on tailoring the Basel III Framework. However, members cautioned that more still needs to be done to work with national level regulators to follow through with implementing rules that allow the benefits of the cooperative model to increase financial inclusion. Proportionality is the key to enabling the cooperative, member-owned model to thrive.


“We are urging close cooperation by the international standard setting bodies to help create an environment that encourages creating national rulebooks that support our community focused model,” said Andrew T. Price, Sr. VP of Advocacy/General Counsel, World Council. “While it takes some effort, the benefits of this work advancing financial inclusion are clear. We are pleased that our message this week is being received and acted upon by these influential bodies.”


Members of the Customer-Owned Banking Association (COBA) from Australia, the Canadian Credit Union Association (CCUA) of Canada, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), and the National Association of Cooperative Savings and Credit Unions (NACSCU) of Poland, and representatives from credit unions and customer-owned banks conveyed their experience from their respective countries.


Last November, the G20 adopted the G20 Bali Leaders’ Declaration, wherein it reaffirmed support for World Council-advocated focus on financial inclusion. The Leaders’ Declaration advanced the financial inclusion of vulnerable and underserved segments of society by endorsing several policies, including the G20 2020 Financial Inclusion Action plan. These policies support the adoption of enabling proportionate legal and regulatory frameworks.

WOCCU and its members will continue to advance its advocacy for national-level supervisors to embrace the proportionality embedded in the international standards and tailor regulations to increase the ability of the cooperative model to increase financial inclusion.


Participants included Andrew Price, World Council; Jeff Guthrie, Canadian Credit Union Association-Canada; Joe Thomas, Credit Union National Association-United States; Michael Lawrence, Customer Owned Banking Association-Australia; Pawel Pelc, National Association of Cooperative Savings and Credit Unions-Poland; Steve Laidlaw, Heritage and People’s Choice Credit Union-Australia; Stuart Hall, Newcastle Greater Mutual Group-Australia; Nathan Campbell, IMB Bank-Australia; and Patrick Ashkettle, Bank Australia.


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 90 countries. Worldwide, 87,914 credit unions in 118 countries serve 393 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.

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