LONDON (11/26/13)--Representatives from the European Network of Credit Unions (ENCU) and World Council of Credit Unions met with European Union (EU) policymakers in London and Brussels last week to discuss how to limit the Basel III liquidity rules' negative impact on credit unions.
| European Network of Credit Unions and World Council of Credit Unions representatives met with European Union policymakers in London and Brussels last week to discuss the impact of Basel III liquidity rules on credit unions. From left, Martin Sisk, Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU); Ed Farrell, ILCU; Anne Schneider, Policy Action (Brussels); Breege-Anne Murphy, ILCU; Wiktor Kaminski, National Association of Co-operative Savings & Credit Unions (Poland) (NACSCU); Michael Edwards, World Council; Pawel Grzesik, NACSCU; Andrus Ristkok, Estonian Union of Credit Cooperatives; Brian McCrory, ILCU; Eleonora Zgonjanin, FULM Savings House (Macedonia); Florin Simion, Federation of Romanian Credit Unions; and Matt Bland, Association of British Credit Unions Ltd. (Photo provided by World Council of Credit Unions)|
ENCU and World Council also met with EU authorities about consumer protection and taxation issues affecting credit unions in Europe.
Representatives were from all six ENCU member organizations--Association of British Credit Unions, Ltd., Estonian Union of Credit Cooperatives, Federation of Romanian Credit Unions FULM Savings House (Macedonia), Irish League of Credit Unions and National Association of Co-operative Savings & Credit Unions (Poland). They met with the European Banking Authority's (EBA) Regulation section in London Nov. 21 to ask the EBA to consider establishing a credit union-specific liquidity classification under the EU's European Basel III rules to reflect that credit unions' deposits in banks are generally "sticky and stable," even during times of economic stress.
ENCU representatives also met with the European Commission in Brussels Nov. 22 regarding the Basel III rules to make the same request.
Credit unions' deposits in European banks currently are classified under Basel III as "wholesale funding." The "wholesale" classification assumes that most or all of these deposits would be withdrawn during periods of economic stress, even though European credit unions significantly increased their deposits in banks during the global financial crisis that began in 2007.
Banks must hold increased reserves for "wholesale" deposits compared to the reserves required for "small business" or "retail" deposits. The higher reserve requirements increase the banks' cost of funds when doing business with credit unions. The new costs have resulted in Irish banks reducing the yields they pay on credit union deposits by an average of 1.5%, and also have contributed to some banking institutions in Great Britain ceasing to accept credit unions deposits.
World Council and the Irish League met with the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision in September regarding the classification of credit unions' deposits in banks under Basel III liquidity rules.
"Application of 'wholesale funding' classification for credit unions' deposits does not reflect the actual behavior of credit unions' bank deposits," said Brian Branch, World Council president/CEO. "This EU correction of the Basel III interpretation will ensure that credit unions can continue to deliver financial inclusion in Europe."
ENCU members also met with the EBA's and the European Commission's Consumer Protection sections Nov. 21-22 concerning upcoming EU directives and guidance papers on mortgage lending, payment accounts and other payment services.
ENCU met with the European Commission's Tax section Nov. 22 to discuss implementation of the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act and related EU and Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development initiatives concerning automatic exchange of tax information about credit union members who are neither a resident nor a citizen of the jurisdiction.
ENCU is a network of national credit union associations in Europe and World Council representatives who educate and engage with EU policymakers and other stakeholders on legislation that affects credit unions. ENCU was formally established in 2010 and is based in Brussels.