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Romanian Credit Unions - self-organising for financial education and inclusion


  • Vamesu, Ancuta

    () (Association Solidarity Laboratory, Romania)

  • Barna, Cristina

    (Association Solidarity Laboratory, Romania)


Our paper has as objective to describe and analyse the role of the Romanian credit union sector in combating financial exclusion and delivering financial education. The paper is a development of the Working Paper N° 2015/11, published in 2015 by CIRIEC (International Centre of Research and Information on the Public, Social and Cooperative Economy): Credit Unions in Romania – a strong social enterprise model to combat financial exclusion and overindebtedness, available online at: The WP included preliminary research results of the project “ICAR - inclusion by micro-credit and mutual help†, financed by European Social Fund, regarding the general context of access to financial services in Romania, financial exclusion and over-indebtedness. The WP was an analysis of the credit union sector in Romania in the five spheres of activities: members, community, state, structure, management (MacPherson, 1999) and in a historical perspective from 18th through to 21st Century adapting and transforming, transgressing socio-economic systems, including transition from the communist regime to the current market economy context, in order to establish their stage of development. Credit unions are a significant movement in Romania registering 1.2 million members just in what is traditionally called “employee credit union†in 2569 credit unions all over the country with 3163 employees, most of which are affiliated in 40 regional unions represented at national level by National Union of Credit Unions in Romania UNCARSR. Established as non-profit associations, mutual saving societies or credit unions, they are non-banking financial institutions. Applying this theoretical framework to the Romanian credit union model enabled us to derive valuable lessons for the practitioners in the field (the work was carried out in cooperation with UNCARSR) and for policy makers given the current difficulties of access to financial services in Romania. For the research we have also used extensive documentation and practical examples from the credit union system in UK in Manchester - Liverpool area including lectures from the Research Unit for Financial Inclusion Liverpool John Moore University. This cooperation with the credit unions in UK is continuing with exchanges of practices in access to financial services for underserved communities, and their financial education including plans for development of common training materials on financial education and social impact assessment.

Suggested Citation

  • Vamesu, Ancuta & Barna, Cristina, 2017. "Romanian Credit Unions - self-organising for financial education and inclusion," Review of Applied Socio-Economic Research, Pro Global Science Association, vol. 13(1), pages 81-94, JUNE.
  • Handle: RePEc:rse:wpaper:v:13:y:2017:i:1:p:81-94

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jones, Paul A., 2008. "From tackling poverty to achieving financial inclusion--The changing role of British credit unions in low income communities," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 2141-2154, December.
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    More about this item


    financial inclusion; financial education; credit union; social enterprise;

    JEL classification:

    • G00 - Financial Economics - - General - - - General
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General


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