BROOKLYN, N.Y. (10/9/09)--Polish President Lech Kaczynski visited the Polish & Slavic FCU (PSFCU), Brooklyn, N.Y, while he was in New York last week for the opening of the United Nations General Assembly. His visit marked the first time an acting head of state had met with executives and employees of the 33-year-old credit union. Kaczynski shared stories about his credit union roots and the role U.S. credit unions played in Poland’s march toward democracy 20 years ago (earthtimes.org Oct. 8). “This is undoubtedly the greatest tribute we have even been awarded,” said Bogdan Chmielewski, CEO of PSFCU. “I cannot express the level of pride that all our employees and our 70,000 members are experiencing as a result of this visit. This visit is a testament to our success as the largest financial institution serving Polish people outside of Poland, and the work we do toward improving the lives of so many Polish-Americans.” In his speech to PSFCU guests and employees, Kaczynski remarked how proud he remains having been the first chairman of the Polish Credit Union Foundation in Poland, and the role that U.S. credit unions played in the emerging Polish government a generation ago. “The Polish & Slavic FCU is an institution that has been well-known to me for years,” Kaczynski said. “As a matter of fact, 20 years ago, a group of my 20-year-old associates left for the U.S., and brought back the idea and the knowledge of credit unions. They decided to establish such a movement in Poland, and truth be told, it is the largest Polish social/financial success since 1989.” Chmielewski told his guests that the Brooklyn-based credit union’s members retain strong ties to Poland, and that the credit union itself continues to work closely with the Polish Cooperative Savings and Loan (SKOK) organization. Much of the initial success of the SKOK can be attributed to the assistance yielded by its American counterparts, Kaczynski said. At the conclusion of Kaczynski’s visit, representatives from the PSFCU board of directors presented him with a commemorative statuette--a silver and gold replica of the PSFCU membership book, which grants him an honorary membership. “You are a movement that's very dear to me,” Kaczynski said.