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Bill Gives Credit Unions Room for Growth

Business Law Reform Bill Gives Credit Unions Room for Growth

AUCKLAND, Monday, 20 November 2006. New Zealand Credit Unions will be granted greater flexibility in the administration of their businesses with the passing of the Business Law Reform Bill.

“These changes are an encouraging sign and a clear indication that the Government, and the various political parties, recognise the important role that Credit Unions play in helping people better their lives. We sincerely thank the Minister of Commerce and her officials for their commitment to the New Zealand Credit Union Movement,” says Doug McLaren, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Association of Credit Unions.

The Association has been lobbying for changes to the Friendly Societies and Credit Unions Act since 1999. The changes passed will allow Credit Unions to determine their own administrative matters.

The sections of the Bill passed relating to Credit Unions are:
 Allowing Credit Unions to determine their own common bond which is needed to identify who can join specific Credit Unions based on their geographical location or affiliation to an employee group or other select groups;
 Allowing charities and incorporated societies to become Credit Union members;
 Allowing Credit Unions to determine the minimum deposit a member must have with a Credit Union;
 Removing the requirement to specify service charges in Credit Unions’ rules and providing the mechanism for the Credit Union to set their fees, levies, or charges without calling for a meeting of members
 Allowing Credit Union associations to provide new services to Credit Unions without Ministerial approval.

“Credit Unions will be able to better meet market demands, in a more timely manner, to provide financial services to New Zealanders who choose to use New Zealand owned Credit Unions as an alternative to other banking providers,” says Mr McLaren.

The Association will be making a submission to the Ministry of Economic Development’s Review of Financial Products and Providers to ensure that a second set of changes to the Friendly Societies and Credit Unions Act 1982 are included in the review. These changes are crucial to the long-term development and sustainability of the New Zealand Credit Union Movement.

New Zealand Association of Credit Unions

The Association was established in 1961 as the Credit Union League and later changed its name in 1989. It acts as the main trade association for Credit Unions in New Zealand and provides a range of products and services to its Member Credit Unions. Its 39 Member Credit Unions operate in more than 95 locations nationwide serving over 175,000 New Zealanders. The Association is a member of the World Council of Credit Unions and an affiliate of the Credit Union Services Corporation of Australia Ltd. The New Zealand Association of Credit Unions is a registered financial cooperative and is not a registered bank.

ENDS

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