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Poland’s credit unions—re-established shortly after the Solidarity movement freed the country from Communist rule in 1989—now constitute one of the world’s fastest growing and most successful credit union systems.
Served by the National Association of Cooperative Savings & Credit Unions (NACSCU), a World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) member, the system currently numbers 59 credit unions of all sizes, from small institutions like US$40 million asset SKOK Wybrzeże to the mammoth US$1.9 billion SKOK Stefczyka, Poland’s largest credit union with more than 370 branches.
With aggregate assets of US$4.75 billion, Poland’s credit unions serve 2.2 million members through 1,870 branches, and the system continues to grow.
What makes Poland’s system successful is the high degree of collaboration among institutions. A single visual brand under the acronym SKOK, short for spółdzielcze kasy
oszczędnościowo-kredytowe (credit union), unites all institutions, each of which retains its own personality in serving various affinity groups.
NACSCU provides back-office and financial services from which all credit unions draw, allowing them to concentrate on serving members.
In July 2012, WOCCU will help NACSCU celebrate its 20th anniversary by holding is annual World Credit Union Conference in Gdansk, birthplace of Solidarity and site of the rebirth of Poland’s credit unions. For more information, visit www.letsgdansk2012.org.