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BTD seen as opportunity by CUs in other countries
MADISON, Wis. (11/8/11)--Other countries took note of the U.S. credit unions' efforts leading up to this past Saturday's Bank Transfer Day and some took the opportunity to promote credit unions as an alternative for consumers fed up with big banks in their own countries.

Meridian CU, the largest credit union in Ontario, Canada, and based in Toronto, last week noted that the grassroots movement encouraging individuals to close their accounts in traditional and publicly traded financial institutions and transfer their funds to a credit union has quickly picked up momentum in Canada (Canada NewsWire Nov. 1).

"Credit unions have been providing Canadians with financial services, products and advice for more than 100 years, yet for many Canadians--especially here in Ontario--there is still confusion about how credit unions differ from traditional banks," said Meridian CEO/President Sean Jackson.  He urged Ontarians "to take this opportunity to experience first-hand the benefits of credit union membership."

New Zealand Association of Credit Unions (NZACU), which is a member of the World Council of Credit Unions, observed that the viral campaign initiated on Facebook that is sweeping the U.S. "is poised to give huge international profile to one of the financial world's best kept secrets: credit unions"  (Scoop.co.nz Nov. 1).

With Australia's banking industry reportedly heading for a record $24 billion profit, despite the economic environment,  NZACU CEO Henry Lynch  predicted a swing towards the cooperative, member-owned financial model "in this part of the world too."

He noted that people want to make new choices about who they deal with. "A lot of people aren't aware of what credit unions offer members, and there's a growing realization that there's a really positive, long-term sustainability in the cooperative philosophy and the structure of credit unions," Lynch said.

"With 2012 being United Nations' International Year of Cooperatives, and the continuing global dissatisfaction around what many see as purely profit-driven financial service providers, the next 12 months are likely to see unprecedented growth in credit union membership," Lynch added.
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