Polish credit union leader Grzegorz Bierecki is the the new chair of the board of the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU).
Bierecki, who succeeded Peruvian credit leader Manuel Rabines, formally accepted the chair's chain of office during the World Credit Union Conference general session on Tuesday in Ottawa, Canada.
"A very long time ago, I chained myself to credit unions," said Bierecki, a Solidarity activist who was jailed for his political activity under Communist rule. "It was 24 years ago when I saw these words describing the credit union philosophy on the wall of a Kansas building — not for profit, not for charity, but for service. It was [with] this sentence that my study of credit unions began."
Bierecki has played a key role in the rebirth of Poland's credit unions — or SKOKs as they are known in Poland — which in the course of 15 years became the largest non-bank financial network in the country. He has led Poland's credit union system as president of Poland's National Association of Co-operative Savings and Credit Unions (NASCU) since 1992. Today, 55 credit unions in Poland serve 2.6 million members.
"Credit unions are an example of love acting in the economy," Bierecki told the audience as he applauded their dedication toward helping others. "If love is intelligent, it can find a way to act that is prudent, right and profitable. I ask that you do not ever run out of such a love."
The World Credit Union Conference continues until July 17.