Parliamentarians discuss expanding access to credit union services in Europe

MADISON, WI (May 11, 2017) — The European Parliament Credit Union Interest Group met on 10 May to discuss how European Union policy can support increased access to credit union services in Europe. The Interest Group, a caucus for Members of the European Parliament (MEP) who support credit unions, held the meeting at the European Parliament’s Espace Léopold in Brussels. MEP Marian Harkin (Republic of Ireland), who is Co-Chair of the Interest Group, and MEP Paul Tang (the Netherlands), who is Vice-Chair of the Interest Group, both spoke in support of reducing regulatory burdens on credit unions so that more ordinary Europeans have access to not-for-profit credit union services such as loans, savings, and current account products.

Larisa Dragomir, policy officer for the European Commission’s Directorate General on Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, addressed the Interest Group to discuss the European Commission’s recent proposal to exempt credit unions in the Netherlands and Croatia from the European Union’s Capital Requirements Directive IV, which is Europe’s version of the Basel III risk-based capital and liquidity standard. Credit unions are already exempt from Europe’s Basel III rules in other European Union member states including Estonia, the Republic of Ireland, Poland, and the United Kingdom.

Breege-Anne Murphy, head of legal and human resources for the Irish League of Credit Unions, also addressed the Interest Group regarding Irish credit unions’ expansion of current account and payments services to their members since 2013, as well as recent initiatives to expand credit union mortgage lending and microlending to Irish consumers.

“Credit unions are ready and willing to expand the range of services to members and to promote financial inclusion,” said Ms. Murphy. “In order to achieve this, there must be recognition of the unique status of credit unions and an appropriate regulatory and legal framework must be in place to allow credit unions to develop.”

Representatives of the European Network of Credit Unions‘ (ENCU), including the Association of British Credit Unions, Ltd. (ABCUL), the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU), the National Association of Co-operative Savings and Credit Unions (NACSCU) of Poland, Estonian Union of Credit Cooperatives (EUCC), Federation of Romanian Credit Unions (FEDCAR ), the Dutch Association of Cooperating Credit Unions (VSK) and World Council of Credit Unions also shared how best to reduce compliance burdens on credit unions during the roundtable discussion held during the Interest Group meeting.

From left: Andrus Rikstok, Estonian Union of Credit Cooperatives; Florin Simeon, Federation of Romanian Credit Unions; Michael Edwards, World Council of Credit Unions; Pawel Grzesik, National Association of Co-operative Savings and Credit Unions of Poland; Matt Bland, Association of British Credit Unions, Ltd.; Breege-Anne Murphy, Irish League of Credit Unions; MEP Paul Tang; MEP Marian Harkin; Ed Farrell, Irish League of Credit Unions; Lyudmila Kravchenko, Ukrainian Association of Savings and Credit Unions.

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

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