POLISH PRESIDENT LECH KACZYŃSKI
BECOMES HONORARY MEMBER OF THE
POLISH & SLAVIC FEDERAL CREDIT UNION
President of the Republic of Poland, Mr. Lech Kaczynski and his wife Maria visited the Polish & Slavic Federal Credit Union on September 24, 2009. This was without a doubt the most significant event in the 33-year history of PSFCU as well as a tremendous privilege and honor for the institution. Since this was the first head-of-state visit to the billion-dollar-plus institution, the Polish President’s visit stressed the importance of PSFCU in the life of the Polish-American community.
The President of Poland, his wife and a large acommpanying group of guests arrived at the PSFCU headquarters, located at 100 McGuinness Blvd., at around 4 PM. President Lech Kaczynski was accompanied, among others, by the Polish Envoy to the UN Andrzej Towpik and by the Polish Ambassador in the US, Robert Kupiecki.
Distinguished guests were met by the volunteers and employees of the Credit Union, headed by the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mr. Krzysztof Matyszczyk, First Deputy Chairwoman Malgorzata Wadolowski and CEO Bogdan Chmielewski. Meeting with President Kaczynski was also attended by by the Chairman of the National Bank of Poland, Mr. Slawomir Skrzypek, and his deputy Piotr Wiesiolek. Among the guests were also several dozen representatives of the 70-thousand-strong PSFCU membership.
Greeting the distinguished guest, Mr. Bogdan Chmielewski presented the achievements of our Credit Union and role it plays in the Polish community.
„Without a doubt, the institution I have the honor and the privilege to represent is a symbol of the huge success of Poles residing in the United States. Throughout our 33-year history we have created the largest ethnic credit union among the 8,000 US credit unions. At the same time we are proud to hold the unofficial distinction of the largest Polish financial institution outside of Poland.
The CEO assured that the Polish affairs, particularly the relations between Poland and the US, are still extremely important to Polish Americans and the PSFCU. He stressed that the Poles anxiously follow the latest decisions of the American administration concerning its Central and Eastern Europe policy. Mr. Chmielewski also mentioned the close relations between PSFCU and Polish Cooperative Savings and Loans (SKOK).
„The Polish & Slavic Union is a name that has been known to me for years,“ President Kaczynski stressed. „As a matter of fact, 20 years ago, at the juncture of 2 political systems, a group of my young, 20-year-old associates (…) left for the United States. (…) They brought back the idea and the knowledge of credit unions, this movement in the United States. (…) They decided to establish such movement in Poland and, truth be told, it is the largest Polish social/financial success after 1989.“
President Kaczynski recalled that the SKOK success was to a large extent achieved owing to the assistance initially yielded by the Americans. „The Americans helped us, we must admit that, but now it is a completely Polish enterprise. (…) I consider it an honor to have been the first chairman of the Polish Credit Unions Foundation. The success of this movement in Poland and the United States are very close to me.“
At the end of the meeting, representatives of the Board of Directors gave President Kaczynski a commemorative statuette – a silver and gold replica of PSFCU membership book, granting him an honorary membership.
“Thank you very much for the honorary membership.” President Kaczynski said with a smile. “(…) You are a movement that’s very dear to me. You are also important for organizing our Polish-American community. (…) I understand that in particular those who are descendants of immigrants from Poland are Americans of Polish descent, but keeping ties with our country, ties which these days cause no contradictions (…) are something valuable for Poland and I would like for them to be fostered here on the East Coast and in Chicago, in Detroit as well as on the West Coast and in every place where there are even small centers of Polish population. We have to fight for it because it is in your interest, ladies and gentlemen, as well as in the interest of our country.”
After the meeting, which was significantly extended with the President’s approval, Mr. Kaczynski and his wife had an opportunity to greet a large group of his supporters in front of the PSFCU building.