World Council urges Basel Committee to adopt measured, orderly withdrawal of COVID-19 relief measures

Delay of Basel III implementation among suggestions designed to help credit unions

MADISON, WI (August 24, 2021) — Recognizing many credit unions are serving countries and populations still left behind by the current COVID-19 recovery, World Council of Credit Unions’ (WOCCU) International Advocacy sent a letter to the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision urging the international standard setting body to support a measured and orderly approach to the withdrawal of its pandemic relief measures.

Specifically, WOCCU International Advocacy encouraged the Basel Committee to consider a further delay in the implementation of Basel III into its regulatory framework to help facilitate the economic recovery during the pandemic.

International Advocacy also advised the Committee to offer flexibility in the return of capital levels based on accounting relief granted for payment moratoriums, IFRS 9 expected loss analysis and the use of capital buffers. All those relief measures, if withdrawn abruptly, could create institutional stress.

In addition, WOCCU urged the Basel Committee to:

  • Provide clear direction to national-level supervisors that a measured and orderly withdrawal is appropriate, without establishing any firm timelines or deadlines.
  • Allow national-level supervisors with ample discretion to adjust the withdrawal of relief based on local conditions and circumstances.
  • Provide direction to national-level supervisors urging patience and leniency, erring on the side of leaving a relief measure in place versus the risk of harm that may result from its early withdrawal.
  • Allow supervisors to work with financial institutions on reasonable capital restoration plans that are appropriate for each institution, while holding them harmless from any regulatory violation if the plan is being executed in good faith, and absent any safety and soundness concern.

“It is important to allow national-level regulators a great amount of flexibility to adjust to local conditions and economies when removing COVID-19 relief measures for credit unions. Otherwise, unnecessary shocks to their balance sheets could hinder their ability to serve communities trying to recover from the pandemic,” said Andrew Price, WOCCU Senior Vice President of International Advocacy and General Counsel.

In addition to these steps, World Council’s COVID-19 Global Response Committee, in cooperation with the  Federation of Savings and Credit Cooperatives (FEDEAC) in Costa Rica, published a technical paper, Financial Strategy to Mitigate the Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis, which offers recommended strategies credit unions can utilize to manage the impact of the social and economic crisis generated by COVID-19.

Andrew Price

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, 82,758 credit unions in 97 countries serve 404 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at


Greg Neumann
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