AFRICA: Accelerating the Global Movement



50 Million by 2020

We challenge the global community to reach 258 million members by 2020.



Financial Inclusion: Kenya

We support credit unions as self-sustainable development solutions for Africa.



Revitalization in Rwanda

Our credit union program raises members out of poverty.



Top 10 Global Advocacy Successes: 2013-2014

Our advocacy efforts champion the movement.



Impacting members lives worldwide

Our Supporters strengthen credit union development and disaster relief.

50 Million by 2020

Brian Branch

Brian Branch
President and CEO
World Council of Credit Unions

Read about Brian's travels around the globe to visit World Council members, credit union development programs and the people they serve at his
"Making a Difference" Blog

We are 57 thousand credit unions serving 208 million members. We face the same challenges, more so today than ever before. Everywhere credit unions are looking to how to increase membership growth, particularly young adult membership growth.

When we talk about membership growth, we look to the 18–35 age group. These are their prime borrowing years. It is in their 20's that many undertake their first large financial commitments. They will be the largest source of future financial services business.

Many young people are unbanked, but they are not unconnected. They use commerce or payments systems—mobile or online. They often substitute short term, non-interest bearing stored electronic value for financial services. They have grown up using mobile phones and the Internet for communication, entertainment, social networking, shopping and information. They expect to use the same to access financial services.

Our challenge is to serve this market profitably. There are differences in the channels they use, but it is more than building mobile and online roadways to the same products. It requires assessing product offerings to the demands of this population. It requires addressing whether our messages are compelling to this demographic. Young adults have more options available to them today than were available for previous generations. They will pursue the cheapest options for service, but they will often pay more for convenience.

Young adults are undergoing life transitions: pursuing their education, getting a job, getting married, buying a home, starting a business, having children. These life events offer financial opportunities to help young adults achieve their goals. Credit unions have always designed products by identifying what the goals of their members are and then asking how they can help them achieve their goals.

One of the most commonly reported requests of young adults is to establish credit. This is our opportunity to be the credit union which gave them their first loan for their education, their car or their home.

Where do we want to be in 2020? Membership growth is a simple goal. It measures how successful we are in responding to consumer demands. It shows how successful we are in overcoming our challenges. So we've set a global challenge to add 50 million new members over the next six years.

We will pursue an aggressive campaign to reach 258 million members worldwide by 2020.

We are the World Council of Credit Unions.

Keep track of the global movement:

Check out these recent updates from your industry peers

Kenya: Moving Africa's SACCOs Forward

Since the late 1990s, Kenya's credit unions, or savings and credit cooperatives (SACCOs), have gained significant momentum. SACCOs positively impact the financial system not only in Kenya, but the entire East African region, by providing social support and educating the communities they serve. By 2013, Kenyan SACCOs mobilized a record US$5.7 Billion in savings and over 13 million members—the highest growth rate in Africa and seventh worldwide. Kenya's progressive spirit within SACCO development and increasing use of mobile technology has helped position itself as a leader and model for other African nations.

For decades, Kenya's government was on the path to reorganization, which led to a new Kenyan constitution approved in 2010 and devolution currently underway. The new constitution meant progression and new hope for Kenyans regarding increased gender equality, land regulation and decentralization of resources to rural areas. These new initiatives diversified centers of power and weakened some of the country's tribal politics.

By spreading power throughout local democracies, Kenya's devolution has strengthened national cohesion. With more decision-making hubs, communities have gained more resources and representation. As a result, the SACCO sector has grown organically to meet specific local needs.

"Just as the Kenya devolution was motivated to build greater national cohesion and loyalty through greater political participation of diverse ethnic groups at the local level, the SACCO builds greater economic sustainability and scale through the economic participation of diverse socioeconomic groups in the county SACCO," said Brian Branch, World Council president and CEO.

Yet, similar to other credit union movements worldwide, advancing Kenya's SACCO movement requires addressing several challenges: shifting regulatory issues, evolving payment and mobile technologies, increasing young adult membership and advancing women in leadership positions.

Explore each photo story to learn more:

Devolution in Kenya

SACCOs Provide Opportunity

Spotlight: Dr. Esther Keino

Sarah Timmins
Social Media Manager
World Council of Credit Unions

Success Stories


Credit unions benefit marginalized, traditionally unbanked populations and are a self-sustainable development solution for the people they serve. Check out some of the success stories throughout Africa:

See More




CUs: Self-Sustainable Development Solutions

Busia, Kenya


Mombasa, Kenya

Credit unions benefit marginalized, traditionally unbanked populations and are a self-sustainable development solution for the people they serve.
Check out some of the success stories throughout Africa.

Revitalization in Rwanda:
Bridging the Financial Inclusion Gap

Providing financial access, education and services to constrained populations in rural areas has its challenges. Add in high poverty rates for a situation that calls for serious help. This is the case for Rwanda. With over 80% of Rwanda's dense population living both in extreme poverty—below US$2.00 a day—and in rural areas, it remains one of the poorest countries in Africa to-date.

Agriculture is its chief sector and acts as the economy's backbone. Umurenge Savings and Credit Cooperatives, called U-SACCOs (credit unions), are a means to building a self-sustainable future for Rwanda's people, particularly farmers who lack training, productivity or access to more profitable agricultural markets.

The vast majority of the country's U-SACCOs were destroyed in the Rwandan genocide of 1994. A new system was reconstructed from scratch when many re-opened in 1996. Ever since, U-SACCOs have faced significant challenges with small farmer outreach, membership growth and long-term sustainability.

Starting in 2000, World Council began helping Rwanda's rural credit unions grow membership (USAID, 2000-2005). In 2013, World Council partnered with the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) to initiate a three-year project, in collaboration with Rwanda's government and 416 sectors, to revitalize, strengthen and improve operations through U-SACCO training programs across the country. The new program, MicroLead Rwanda: Savings Mobilization through Rural Savings and Credit Cooperatives, has since continued bridging the financial inclusion gap and improving food security.

Opportunities to Connect Globally
There are many ways for individuals, credit unions and their associations to connect and learn on an international level. See More

Opportunities to Connect with World Council

Whether you are an association, service organization, credit union or simply one person interested in connecting on a global scale, there are many ways to get involved.



World Council's 2015 World Credit Union Conference will co-host with America's Credit Union Conference on July 12–15, 2015, in Denver, USA. Attendees will enjoy thought-provoking educational content, first-rate speakers and outstanding networking opportunities with credit union leaders from around the globe. Stay tuned at



The Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions harnesses the power of Supporter donations to create opportunities that last for the world's working poor through development programs, international partnerships, member education and training, as well as disaster relief and rebuilding.

WF logo


World Council members include regional, national and business service organizations. They enjoy benefits including advocacy support, World Council network recognition, general assembly voting rights, an opportunity to be elected to the board of directors, periodic World Council consultations, networking opportunities, free or discounted products and services, discounted pricing for international meetings and access to member-only regional workshops. Learn how to join at


The International Partnerships Program formally brings together credit unions and their associations from around the world to exchange ideas and technical expertise to build stronger institutions for the benefit of their members.



The Global Women's Leadership Network is the only international, professional group for women credit union leaders. It connects women around the world to engage in personal and professional growth, credit union development and peer networking and support.

Global Women's Leadership Network


World Council Young Credit Union People (WYCUP) Program is an annual scholarship program that engages and promotes the next generation of credit union professionals and volunteers. Every year at the World Credit Union Conference, the WYCUP program awards five young leaders an all-expense-paid trip to the following year's event.



World Council engages with the global community online through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube. Subscriptions are also available for World Council's bimonthly eCommuniqué, Global Regulatory Update, news releases and more.

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Top 10 Advocacy Successes for Credit Unions Worldwide: 2013-2014

Michael Edwards
VP Advocacy and Govt. Affairs
World Council of Credit Unions

Engage with our Global Community

This past year, the Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions played a catalytic role advancing the credit union movement and created meaningful, impactful and lasting connections for credit unions—and their members—around the globe. Through the generosity of donors, the Worldwide Foundation continued to build a global community of credit unions to improve the lives of millions worldwide. In 2013, the global credit union community demonstrated its "people-helping-people" difference by contributing US$1,379,033 to the Worldwide Foundation—increasing the depth and magnitude of World Council's programming.

Worldwide Foundation funds expanded the depth and magnitude of World Council's development projects around the globe. The organization worked in eight countries to bring financial services to those who need it most, including farmers, women and small business owners living in Colombia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Kenya, Liberia, Mexico and Rwanda.

Contributions from Worldwide Foundation Supporters allowed World Council to champion the credit union difference, connect the global credit union community and equip people with access to high quality and affordable financial services. Drawing on the strength of our global network, funds raised in 2013 supported not only credit union development activities, but also international disaster relief, the Global Women's Leadership Network, the International Partnerships Program and the Busia orphanage project in rural Kenya.

World Council's work would not be possible without the invaluable efforts of more than 700 donors and volunteers whose passion, commitment and dedication are at the heart of what it does. We look forward to continuing our work and thank you for helping us improve lives through credit unions!

Take a look at a few of the Foundation's initiatives and how our Supporters got involved:

Global Women's Leadership Network

Rebuilding after Haiyan

Hear from our Supporters