Northwest Credit Union Movement on Journey to Help Moldova CUs

The Credit Union Movement has been alive for only a decade in Moldova, one of Europe’s poorest countries. The nation – which borders the Ukraine and Romania – was recognized in 1991, after winning independence from the former Soviet Union. The 3 million people who call Moldova home earn modest livings mainly in agriculture or service jobs, and they have limited access to financial services.

The World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) has been working with American credit unions to help Moldova’s young credit unions realize their potential, sending delegations of U.S. credit unions there, and bringing delegations from Moldova to the U.S. to encourage collaboration. Last fall, nine credit union professionals from Moldova came to observe Idaho credit unions, and this week, two Idaho credit union leaders are on another pilgrimage to Moldova.

“In their movement, I see an opportunity to highlight the value of having local connections, local opportunities, to engage with local decision makers and to be able to continue the same things we started out with in the 1930s” said Todd Christensen, SVP, marketing and business development at Meridian, Idaho-based CapEd Credit Union.

Christensen is joined on this journey by Shane Berger, president and CEO of Rexburg, Idaho-based Beehive Federal Credit Union. Their financial institutions alone protect more than $786 million in assets for 95,000 members – more than the $25,999,865 Euros in assets Moldova’s 359 credit unions collectively represent.

Moldova is “just barely 10 years into credit unions being engaged in their local communities, much like where we were 60, 70 or 80 years ago,” Christensen said.

Berger and Christensen are pleased to have Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union’s Brad Ganey, SVP, COO, along on the journey.

In announcing Ganey’s participation, Berger thanked Catalyst Corporate’s CEO Kathy Garner for the partnership. Ganey, Berger noted, is a payments systems expert who “will be a great help to us as we talk not only with the credit unions, but also with the national regulator and the Finance Ministry.”

Editor’s note: Idaho’s delegation to Moldova will share details of their journey with Anthem after they conclude their visit.

Posted in Around the NW.