MADISON, Wis. (11/7/08)--Credit unions and financial cooperatives worldwide have been islands of relative safety in a struggling global economy, and the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) wants attendees at the Group of 20 (G-20) Global Financial Summit to acknowledge that fact and act appropriately to stem the current crisis. President Bush will host a meeting of the G-20, an organization of major industrial and emerging-market countries, in Washington, D.C., Nov. 15 to further financial reform negotiations among world leaders. WOCCU made its voice heard last week by submitting a letter to the finance ministers of participating countries, asking that the strength and safety credit unions and financial cooperatives provide their members be acknowledged. It also asked that cooperatives not be included in inappropriate legislation or regulations that may restrict the practices that give member-owned institutions their strength and capability to serve. In his letter, Pete Crear, WOCCU president/CEO, requested that three distinct steps be taken during the summit:
* Any future financial rescue packages implemented at global or national levels must be unbiased against cooperative financial institutions relative to the commercial banking sector; * Cooperative financial institutions must be recognized in any pronouncements emanating from the summit as secure, locally owned financial institutions that have presented safe and sound financial alternatives during the current crisis; and * Future regulations or legislation that may result from this crisis clearly recognize that cooperative financial institutions have not been the source of these problems, have been significantly less affected by the economic fallout, and should not be punished by inclusion in a series of new rules designed to correct a problem they have not caused.
“We believe strongly that cooperative financial institutions must be consulted prior to any regulatory actions that may affect them and we urge you to make this step a permanent part of your protocols,” Crear wrote. The letter was submitted to G-20 finance ministers Oct. 31. Use the link to access the letter. Established in the wake of the emerging markets financial crisis of the late 1990s, the G-20 is an informal forum that promotes open and constructive discussion between industrial and emerging-market countries on key issues related to global economic stability. The G-20 includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union.