The World Credit Union Conference is under way in Singapore, where over 1,400 delegates from 58 countries attended the opening ceremony on 15 July.
Participants will hear from 50 leading industry experts during keynote and breakout sessions on advocacy, blockchain technology, cybersecurity, diversity and inclusion, fintech, leadership and emerging trends.
Following a long-standing tradition, delegates took part in the international flag parade, which was followed by a performance from dancers in costumes featuring Singapore’s ethnic groups – Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian in traditional and modern dance.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, WOCCU chair Brian McCrory said: “We must be innovators, social entrepreneurs, and skilled business leaders with the ability to run efficient businesses while deeply rooted in the philosophy of the co-operative spirit and a commitment to service.
“We are passionately aware that each of us both as individuals and as members of World Council, and as a movement, are about so much more than business. We exist to provide our members with a not-for-profit service that empowers and enables them and through this activity, we generate sufficient surplus to reward our members, fund our operations and create additional social dividends for our communities.”
He encouraged delegates to make the most of the international event. “As credit union leaders, we collectively commit to the highest standards, to learning, to improving our skillsets, to embracing change, for and on behalf of our members,” he added.
The guest of honour at the opening ceremony, Singapore’s senior minister of state for defence, Heng Chee How, told credit unions to embrace technological innovation and digital transformation to “effectively compete with other financial institutions and fintech firms to meet the demands of a new generation of members”.
Mr Heng, who serves as deputy secretary general of National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), also argued that business models needed innovation, praising the co-operative movement for its spirit.
The ceremony also featured a tribute to individuals and organisations who have shown great contributions to furthering the credit union movement internationally. This year’s Distinguished Service Award was presented posthumously to Prof Adam Jedlinski, nominated by the National Association of Cooperative Savings and Credit Unions (NACSCU) of Poland.
The World Credit Union Conference also runs Global Women’s Leadership Network and World Council Young Credit Union Professional (WYCUP) Forum events, which started on Sunday, 14 July.
The conference will continue with a series of keynote presentations and break out sessions until 18 July.