GWLN promotes opportunities for women in North Macedonia

Visit to Sister Society coincides with 20th anniversary of FULM Savings House

MADISON, WI (September 27, 2019) — The head of World Council’s Global Women’s Leadership Network (GWLN) is in Skopje, North Macedonia this week to discuss the importance of women’s empowerment, their opportunities to advance professionally and personally—and providing for financial inclusion through credit unions.

GWLN Program Director Lena Giakoumopoulos is also meeting with North Macedonian dignitaries and participating in a weeklong 20th anniversary celebration of FULM Savings House—the country’s first and only credit union, established in 1999 through a USAID/World Council of Credit Unions’ (WOCCU) project.

Giakoumopoulos began her week by presenting a World Council Ambassador Medallion to Anita Angelovska Bezhoska, Governor of the National Bank of the Republic of North Macedonia. She also visited the country’s Ministry of Finance, and the Commission on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men—presenting pink GWLN items to officials from both agencies.

“Women are an influential force in the global economy, with significant untapped business potential,” said Giakoumopoulos. “In line with the mission of World Council to improve lives through credit unions and other financial cooperatives, we harness this power each day and make the case for greater economic empowerment of women, credit unions and financial cooperatives around the world achieving success. It’s smart for our countries, our companies and our credit unions when we invest in women!”

Launched in 2016, the GWLN Sister Society in North Macedonia was the first chapter established in Europe.

FULM Savings House celebrates 20 years

WOCCU Board Chair Steve Stapp presented a gift to FULM Savings House CEO Eleonora Zgonjanin at a formal 20th anniversary celebration this week.

“It is exciting to see the success of FULM Savings House in North Macedonia and the thousands of members they have served in the past 20 years. Their determination and model are an inspiration to all systems around the world,” said Stapp.

FULM Savings House now has eight locations located across North Macedonia that serve more than 10,000 members.

Representatives from SchoolsFirst Credit UnionUnitus Community Credit Union, the National Association of Cooperative Savings and Credit Unions (NASCUS-Poland), the Michigan Credit Union League and Federatia CAR din Romania (FEDCAR-Romania) also participated in the weeklong celebration.

GWLN Program Director Lena Giakoumopoulos presents a WOCCU Ambassador Medallion to the Governor of the National Bank of the Republic of North Macedonia.

Giakoumopoulos presents pink GWLN pashminas to an official from North Macedonia’s Ministry of Finance.

WOCCU Board Chair Steve Stapp presents a 20th anniversary gift to FULM Savings House CEO Eleonora Zgonjanin.

About World Council of Credit Unions

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


Greg Neumann
Phone: +1 608-395-2048

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