Macedonia’s first credit union built on trust, courage, commitment

first_img 1SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr FULM Savings House had to prove it was different from previous financial Tom SakashNothing about forming a credit union in a poor agrarian country in southeastern Europe, Martha Ninichuk will tell you, is easy.What is easy, however, is to see—in the face of a prospective membership base that doesn’t trust financial institutions, a lack of modern banking technology and never-ending regulations from the government’s central bank—is what the first and only credit union in Macedonia means to anyone who’s been involved with its colorful 15-year history.The history of FULM Savings House begins with Martha Ninichuk, now the deputy director of NCUA’s Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives.Fifteen years ago, working for the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), Ninichuk was picked to lead a team that would deliver a credit union to a country on the Balkan Peninsula—just north of Greece and sandwiched between Albania to the west and Bulgaria to the east—that had recently seceded from the former Yugoslavia and, on its own, had been struggling to establish itself economically.After answering a request for proposals from USAID, which would fund the project, WOCCU was granted a contract to establish a micro-savings and lending institution there. continue reading »last_img read more