AUCKLAND, 20 OCTOBER 2016: Co-op Money NZ, the industry voice representing co-operatively owned credit unions and mutual building societies in New Zealand, will be celebrating this year’s International Credit Union (ICU) Day on 20 October 2016.

“Since 1948, ICU Day has been celebrated annually on the third Thursday of October.  Each year this international event provides the opportunity to reflect upon the credit union movement’s history and to promote its achievements.  It’s a day to recognise all the hard work that credit unions do day in and day out to help New Zealanders around the country to become better off financially,” said Henry Lynch, CEO of Co-op Money NZ.

Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives that provide an effective and viable alternative to for-profit financial institutions for over 217 million members in 105 countries worldwide. Worldwide, 57,000 credit unions exist to serve their members, providing a safe place to save money and access affordable loans.

“This ICU Day’s theme of ‘The Authentic Difference’ recognises the genuine difference in co-operative spirit that differentiates credit unions from foreign owned banks, not just in New Zealand but around the world.

As an example of this spirit, Co-op Money NZ is currently working with a number of Pacific Island banks for them to join Co-op Money NZ’s AccessDebit scheme. This scheme will enable Pacific Island banks approved by Co-op Money NZ to provide Mastercard®[i] debit cards to their local communities to assist with financial inclusion.  Co-op Money NZ is also investigating a low cost real time remittance service to grow NZ credit union membership and provide a valuable alternative for those in New Zealand and the Islands to the expensive remittance services currently provided by most banks.

The AccessDebit scheme will operate the same way for those Pacific Island banks participating as it does for NZ customers in that it will provide transactional debit card services via all merchants and online worldwide that accept Mastercard, will be contactless enabled and will have the latest card chip security.  Co-op Money NZ will continue to apply its best practice arrangements with these Pacific Island banks with its position protected through security deposits taken from the banks involved, and the scheme being subject to applicable AML/CFT requirements and audit processes.

Co-op Money NZ Member credit unions are also in the midst of an exciting modernisation programme.  Already with access to leading anti-money laundering software, the next step is the upgrade of the core banking platform to the state-of-the-art tier one ‘Oracle Flexcube’ solution, which is being rolled out progressively to a number of credit unions throughout 2017.

“This ICU Day is a great time for us to pause and reflect on where we are at and the exciting future ahead as credit unions continue to evolve and develop new products, services and ways to connect with their members around the country,” adds Lynch.

ENDS.         

[i] Mastercard and the Mastercard brand mark are registered trademarks of Mastercard International Incorporated.