Members of the European Parliament joined credit union representatives to explore new opportunities brought by digitisation. They looked at the role of credit unions in increasing financial inclusion in Europe, particularly through electronic platforms such as banking apps.
Participants argued that credit unions can respond to the challenge of digitisation by using shared platforms. An example is Cornerstone Mutual Services in the UK, a credit unions organisation that provides back office services for credit unions to help them grow.
MEPs Marian Harkin from the Republic of Ireland and Richard Howitt from the UK, who co-chair the Parliament’s Interest Group on credit unions, also attended the meeting, along with European Parliament vice president, MEP Ryszard Czarnecki from Poland.
Philippe Pellé, deputy head of the Retail Financial Services and Payment Union of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Financial Stability, also spoke at the meeting. He said that the EU’s recent regulatory changes on payment services are helping to pave the way for increased consumer access to digital financial services.
Michael Edwards, vice president and general counsel of the World Council of Credit Unions mentioned credit unions digitisation projects in Colombia and Mexico, adding that similar projects in Europe could increase the financial inclusion of those unbanked, particularly in rural areas.