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Connexus : Issue 39
www.abacus.org.au 47 Tackling fraud in the Pacific Understanding and dealing with fraud and corruption will be a focus of this year’s Pacific Credit Union Technical Congress. By STEPHANIE BROWN The admirable values and principles of credit unions are a good match with Pacific culture. But, at the same time, some credit unions, par ticularly in lar ger Pacific economies, face the ser ious problems of fraud and corr uption. So says Michael Koisen, CEO of Teacher s Savings and Loans, in Papua New Guinea, in the lead-up to this year’s Pacific Credit Union Technical Congress. Koisen is well qualified to comment. He has more than 30 years of experience in the industry in the Pacific and is an Oceanic Confederation of Credit Union Leagues (OCCUL) board member and chair man of PNG’s Federation of Savings and Loan Societies. “ The customar y collective obligations of Pacific culture have made the introduction of credit unions a compatible fit,” s ays Koisen. However, when it comes to managing money responsibly, the rapid growth of economies in a relatively short period of time hasn’t been matched by cultural and social changes in some Pacific countries, he says. “Operating credit unions in this setting has unique challenges.” Koisen highlights the credentials of democratically elected officials as a significant challenge. “ The pool of people eligible to be democratically elected officials is not large and often lacks the skills and knowledge necessar y to prov ide governance and direction to a financial institution.” He believes the desire for financial and social status, seasoned with tribal Info For more information on the Congress, visit CUFA’s website at www.cufa.com.au or contact Anne Casey by phoning (02) 8299 9270 or emailing email@example.com michael Koisen, OCCul board member and Chairman of the Federation of Savings and loan Societies at the Pacific Congress 2011. and customar y obligations, is a “recipe for fraud and corruption” without strong controls being put in place. The Congress, to be held in Fiji on October 22-26, will help Pacific credit unions deal with such issues. Through the sharing of information and experiences, it will produce a greater understanding of fraud and corruption, and the skills and knowledge needed to overcome it. The OCCUL event will be co-hosted by the Fijian Credit Union League, CUFA and the World Council of Credit Unions. Attendees will include delegates fr om Pacific credit unions, gover nment regulators from the region, and representatives from the Australian and United States credit union movements. Abacus fi nancial cr imes manager Leanne Vale and Greater Building Society’s Jason Moffat will hold a half-day session to help credit union managers identify and overcome fraud and corruption. Areas of focus will include credit risk, collections, security and counterfeit currency. Stephanie Brown is a CUFA project officer. The customary collective obligations of Pacific culture have made the introduction of credit unions a compatible fit.