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Credit Unions Look To Further Growth

Media Release
12 September 2002

Credit Unions Look To Further Growth

Nearly 200 delegates from 43 credit unions, with combined assets totalling $386 million, will gather in Nelson for three days this week (Friday 13 Sep - Sunday 15 Sep) to discuss new growth initiatives aimed at making the movement the preferred banking services provider for New Zealanders.

They will be joined by the vice president of the World Council of Credit Unions, Lucy Ito, and credit union representatives from Australia.

Keynote speakers at the conference will be Ms Ito who will speak on 'The Power of Many to Change the World', Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr Michael Cullen, who is expected to announce proposals to look at changes to the credit union movement's regulatory regime, executive director of the Business Roundtable, Roger Kerr, and former Wellington mayor, Mark Blumsky.

New Zealand Association of Credit Unions (NZACU) CEO, Doug McLaren, says the theme of the annual conference - 'Quality, Caring and Credibility' - is significant because credit unions play such an important part in the lives of a growing number of New Zealanders.

"With a new government, it is vital that the urgent changes so necessary to our legislation are now re-energised, and the considerable progress already made, is maintained," says Mr McLaren.

"The World Council of Credit Unions clearly defines that, there cannot be a sound financial system without a sound and safe credit union sector, and ultimately there cannot be a sound and safe credit union sector without enabling legislation and regulation."

Mr McLaren says the fact that credit unions continue to grow in the face of fierce competition is further proof of their need. "With membership, over the last five years, up from 124,000 to 170,000 and assets up from $249 million to $386 million, and 116 outlets available from Kaitaia to Invercargill, we are a vibrant, innovative movement catering in particular to the lower-income members of our society."

"Credit unions can provide comprehensive and up to date banking services, including online facilities, to their members but on a completely different set of principles to banks. In New Zealand, as throughout the world, the credit union movement is member owned and working in a co-operative, not for profit, spirit.

"The motivation for credit unions is that by working together, members are able to achieve a better life for themselves and for their communities," says Mr McLaren.

Worldwide there are 36,900 credit unions in 100 countries with 112 million members and assets totalling US$606 billion.

ends

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