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November 26, 2015   

Credit Union World // Credit Union World 17v1


The Vision 2020 Campaign

We are a global community, dedicated to serving people and their families from all over the world. That which is most meaningful to people is what we all have in common from one country to another. People want to feed their families and to put a roof over their heads. They want their children to get a good education and have a more prosperous life than they have had themselves. That is what we help our members accomplish. We dedicate ourselves to improving lives by connecting people to accessible, reliable and affordable financial services.

In 2014, World Council introduced Vision 2020. Our goal is to increase credit union membership by at least 50 million from 208 million at year-end 2013 to 260 million in 2020.

The Vision 2020 campaign will provide the global credit union movement with actionable items, resources and steps to participate in reaching 50 million new members. Through online platforms and in-person empowerment, credit unions around the world pledge to expand financial inclusion with their cooperative values.

What was a challenge in 2014—and remains our goal for 2020—now becomes a global campaign.

To ensure we reach our goal, we collectively and strategically address the following focus points for
the next 5 years.

Consumers are changing their expectations and, consequently, the face of financial services. It becomes contagious. By 2030, 2 billion people without a bank account today will store money and make payments on their phones. The digital age has come. Young adults are its early adopters, continuously elevating new technology. There is no turning back. Credit unions must adapt and respond directly to their expectations of frictionless convenience. And as we adapt, we can thrive as an industry that embodies the values held by this same young adult generation.

Credit union systems need empowering / less restrictive legislative and regulatory frameworks to grow. National legislators and regulators follow global standard-setters in setting regulatory rules for credit unions. Regulatory advocacy helps remove the regulatory barriers to growth or to the ability of credit unions to provide the services that enable them to grow. We must represent and defend the global community that we all build.

Advancing women in leadership is an important force in growing our global community. We share the ideal of providing men and women with equal opportunity in credit unions. Often this requires that we think about what obstacles we may need to work to remove or what peer support networks we can build. After all, we all have spouses, partners, daughters and friends who we want to see enjoying equal opportunity. We continue to empower and invest in women through credit union leadership by offering men and women the same exposure and same opportunities to the critical experiences needed for success in their careers.

Our development programs provide people with access to finance that allows them to solve their own health, education, food and economic problems. The financial empowerment of connecting unbanked populations to the resources they need to succeed is life-changing. We continue developing technology to make financial institutions and mobile network systems interoperable. In turn, we build capacity of local merchants and train underserved populations on how to use mobile technology for practical purposes.

The credit union philosophy transcends borders. It is our cooperative value that drives the passion that we see in credit unions—this is what makes us memorable. This is how we truly make a difference, and we are proud of the work that we all do that improves people's lives.

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 blog

"Making a Difference"


Hear from some of the industry's top influencers:

Credit unions needed as platforms to aggregate
gender diversity in leadership

Women are noticeably missing from top executive seats in the global credit union industry. This leadership gap precludes credit unions from fully realizing their potential and leaves out the distinctive vision that women bring to transformative outcomes.

World Council's Global Women's Leadership Network is the industry's only international platform for addressing and facilitating greater gender balance among leadership positions.

Our programming provides credit union women with the tangible skills, tools and resources they need to lead; and offers actionable steps for organizations to follow. Regardless of professional station, the Network is open to women from around the globe and includes the critical support, and engagement, of men.

Research shows that greater gender diversity allows financial institutions to better serve women. Around the world, women are 20 percent less likely than men to have a formal bank account and often lack access to savings, credit and other financial services.

Funding from the Network, combined with World Council's development activities, provides technical assistance and capacity-building to credit unions so they may increase women's access to services. In 2014, the Network initiated a grant program to further advance the leadership of Network members and support their localized efforts improving financial education, entrepreneurship and savings for women worldwide.

Today, we invite you to step forward as an advocate for women's leadership and financial inclusion. Join the Network—as member or supporter — and unleash the potential of yourself, colleagues, board members, organization and community.

Get to know the Network

Explore each photo story to see how #CUwomen are making a difference.

Who are we?

Advancing female entrepreneurship

Increasing financial literacy among female youth

A place for credit union women to connect, inspire & empower.


The Big Picture


Female Leadership Roles


Join the #CUwomen conversation!

HAITI: Expanding Financial Inclusion

For the past six years, the USAID-funded HIFIVE project has been working to transform the agricultural finance sector in Haiti and expand financial inclusion through the use of technology. A catalyst and a facilitator, HIFIVE has supported 65 credit unions, microfinance institutions, and commercial and development banks to develop sustainable financial products and solutions to meet the diverse needs of Haiti's agricultural value chains, enterprises and people. Supporting local solutions designed by local institutions, more than 1 million Haitians have benefitted from HIFIVE's work.

This video and all photos in this article were produced under United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Cooperative Agreement No. 521-A 00-09-00025-00. The contents are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

Thanks to a loan from KPTAT—one of several credit unions that helped implement the efforts of HIFIVE—this farmer from Terrier-Rouge was able to purchase two cows.


View HIFIVE Success Stories

HMMI: Driving Mobile Money Forward


Many of us still remember exactly where we were when the January 2010 earthquake shocked Haiti—and the entire world. Immediately afterward, humanitarian programs rushed to accelerate cash payments and resources to earthquake victims. The question persisted: how could we keep Haitians' money safe in an unsafe, unstable environment? Considering 85% of Haitian households had cellphone access, mobile money services offered a promising solution to safeguarding the economic future of Haitian citizens.

For the past five years, World Council has managed the Haiti Mobile Money Initiative (HMMI), co-funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. HMMI, implemented by the USAID-funded HIFIVE program, launched an incentive fund competition to encourage rapid development of mobile money services for Haitians affected by the earthquake.

Shortly after HMMI began, two mobile service providers, Digicel and Voila, launched services for using cellphones as "mobile wallets" to send and receive money, pay for purchases and receive humanitarian aid. Both providers reached five million mobile money transactions before Digicel acquired Voila in 2012, thus leaving one single product on the market.

Following the competition phase, HMMI transitioned to provide resources and technical assistance for thought leadership and problem solving around mobile money expansion. HMMI also began promoting mobile money penetration into key sectors, including microfinance, agriculture and health.

During this time, a wide array of local partners received grants to develop mobile solutions to distribute agricultural credit to farmers, pay community health workers, facilitate loan repayment of village savings and loans groups, and expand the network of merchants that accept mobile

All players in Haiti's mobile money space faced challenges within the restrictive regulatory environment, since many national financial laws, which date back to the 1980s, were not conceptualized to support mobile financial services.

Nevertheless, there have been over 500,000 mobile money customers and 11 million transactions as of September 2015. More importantly, HMMI has helped open Haiti's landscape and dialogue about mobile money and electronic payments.

In fact, Haiti's commercial banks, credit unions [caisses populaires] and microfinance institutions are now defining mobile strategies. Building on the groundwork laid by HMMI, new mobile money providers have also entered the market to push progress forward.

To capitalize on this momentum, World Council is currently working through HMMI to develop tools and methodologies to expand mobile solutions through financial institutions in Haiti. The future
of Haitian financial inclusion goes beyond mobile payments. It calls
for cellphone access to savings, loans and other vital financial services that can further help to improve lives.

In January 2011, Digicel, a major mobile telephone service provider, was awarded the "First to Market" incentivized prize for its "Tcho Tcho" mobile money product. The incentive fund was created to provide cash awards to companies that offer accelerated mobile money services in Haiti. Today, the service attracts clients to the store and saves them the trip to the bank. "Tcho Tcho mobile allows anyone to use their electronic wallet instead of carrying cash... a good number of organizations are now using Tcho Tcho mobile for their employee payrolls... as of now, there are more than 300,000 people using this service." -Christian Craan, Digicel Agent

Post-Ebola Revitalization: Liberia on the Rise

A series of complex challenges have plagued Liberia's credit unions since World Council helped initiate them in the 1970s. Periodically inactive due to national political and social conditions, the sector—including the Liberia Credit Union National Association (LCUNA)—has retained resilience and focus on raising Liberians out of poverty.

Prior to civil wars starting in 1989, Liberia had a growing credit union sector. Two civil wars spanning 14 years took approximately 200,000 lives and displaced over half the population. Consequently, many credit unions lost member deposits and records. The volunteer-run institutions also received little training in modern operational standards or marketing strategies.

Over the next decade, peace gradually returned to the country, whose population increased fivefold. Credit unions and LCUNA also became functional again with support from the national government and central bank. However, credit unions still struggled to conduct thorough accounting, governance, loan portfolio management and credit analysis—key areas that form the backbone for establishing credit union stability.

After becoming a World Council member in 2012, LCUNA partnered with World Council to implement a four-year credit union system revitalization program beginning in 2013 with UNCDF funds. The program's objective: bank 40,000 Liberians previously without access to financial services by developing four regional credit unions to serve as models for the rest of the sector.

Following a nine-month suspension due to an Ebola virus outbreak in June 2015, World Council renewed their model credit union building program. Through credit union strengthening and savings mobilization, the program is now back on track to continue to expand financial inclusion. Despite the project suspension, LCUNA and its credit union members never ceased efforts to bring in new members and provide loans to help Liberians safeguard families against Ebola's destructive impact.

The program is doing more than simply providing financial services—it is delivering hope to a country that lost nearly 5,000 people to Ebola. LCUNA Board Chair Saye Biyie said, "This project is our heart. It represents the difference—literally—between life and death for many Liberians. We are grateful to UNCDF and World Council on their decision to re-start the project."

Progress: Revitalizing Liberia's credit unions

Building Credit Union Capacity

Help Us Build A Global Community

Worldwide Foundation funds expand the depth and magnitude of World Council's development projects around the globe.

Learn more about World Council's
work in Liberia

Mexico: The Next Frontier in Mobile Banking

As mobile devices rise in popularity and affordability throughout the developing world, mobile banking has become an attractive option for financial institutions looking to reach members who may not live near branches. It is especially effective with young adults between the ages of 18 and 35, who generally utilize mobile devices at a higher rate than the rest of the population. With approximately 83% of Mexican citizens now using cellphones1, the country exemplifies the global growing trend in mobile phone usage and represents a sizeable untapped market for mobile banking.

World Council recently conducted a survey2 of over 6,600 young adults ages 18–35 in rural Mexico that indicated mobile phone usage among this demographic is as high as 95%, but the vast majority of those surveyed were not using their phones for banking, and many had never even heard of it.

Although current mobile banking usage is low, 20% of those surveyed showed a strong interest in utilizing this technology.

To tap into this market, World Council's subsidiary, ENTURA Mexico, recently introduced two forms of mobile technology for Mexican credit unions to offer their members: an SMS-based mobile solution and an Android mobile app, soon to be available for Apple devices as well. So far, there are 5,000 Mexican credit union members using these services, and ENTURA is projecting rapid growth in 2016. Both types of mobile technology give members the ability to check their balances, transfer funds to another person, move funds between personal accounts, and buy airtime without ever having to visit a branch. SMS-based mobile technology operates via cell phone text messaging, whereas mobile app technology provides a visual portal exclusively for smartphones.

For those who do not have a personal cell phone or internet access to use an app, ENTURA’s software platform has been used to connect unbanked Mexicans to formal financial institutions for years. Using a smartphone or other mobile device, credit union representatives are able to travel to remote communities and offer residents the ability to open accounts, apply for loans, pay on loans, and make deposits, withdrawals, and transfers, all recorded by the representative through an application on the mobile device. This concept, known as field agent banking, has helped to bring basic financial services to nearly a million previously unbanked Mexicans. As mobile phones and internet access become more common in these areas, ENTURA Mexico will be there to provide personal mobile banking services as well.

"There was a time when payments, commerce and finance were different sectors," said Brian Branch, World Council president and CEO. "Today they overlap and merge with one another because consumers can do all three easily with their online or mobile device. ENTURA Mexico's mission is to help [Mexican credit unions] economically meet the challenge of keeping up with digital and mobile services for members to be competitive and to grow."

ENTURA recently launched several technological solutions to help Mexican credit unions, known as cajas, provide more expansive and affordable services to members in underserved rural areas. The launch event was attended by Mexican government officials, credit union and labor union executives, microfinance institutions and World Council staff who came to learn about and support technological solutions to expand financial inclusion beyond branches in Mexico. Photo (left to right): Pedro Cambrany, Yared Bautista, Dolores Rivera, Brian Branch, Margarito Saavedra, and Amadeo Radillo.

View Photo Story:

Fintech: on the rise for Mexican CUs

Katie Tellock
Program Specialist
World Council of Credit Unions


ENTURA is an innovative financial services company that provides technical, operational and regulatory expertise to financial institutions worldwide. It helps financial institutions expand and implement new technologies, products and services to more efficiently and effectively reach more people. ENTURA Mexico currently works with 23 credit unions and serves a total of 1.2 million members.

¹World Bank Statistics

²The market research was carried out in Mexico by World Council of Credit Unions with funding from the Metlife Foundation. Results are based on responses from 6,653 young adults ages 18-35 surveyed across 17 Mexican states in semi-urban and rural areas.

Millennials: Connecting Between the Digital Divide

Sarah Timmins

Sarah Timmins
Digital Strategy Manager
World Council of Credit Unions

Read more about millennials and credit unions at World Council's
weCU2 Blog

Every person reading this has a different comfort level with technology that largely correlates to their age and home geographical region. This comfort level is camouflaged until a person comes into contact with someone whose comfort level is stronger or weaker than theirs. These comfort level differences with technology can create a roadblock for credit unions to engage young adult members.

Consider this: when the "digital revolution" began, baby-boomers were already adults who had to adapt to an unfamiliar world of communication and instant gratification, whereas the majority of millennials today have a hard time remembering a time when texting did not exist.

This scenario is common worldwide. For example, nearly 70 percent of Africa's population is now comprised of millennials, many of whom grew up seeing mobile devices as a normal part of everyday life. In Latin America and the Caribbean, mobile penetration continues to significantly grow among 77 million low-income millennials of the region.

We already know that millennials represent both a massive hurdle yet signficant opportunity for credit union membership growth everywhere. How will credit unions adapt? This question led World Council to develop a technical guide series with tangible strategies and case studies for credit unions to model and/or implement. In addition, we developed weCU2, a digital program that connects millennials and credit unions from all over the world.

What were our key findings from these initiatives?

View the photo story to find out.

Top 10 Advocacy Successes for Credit Unions Worldwide: 2014-2015

Michael Edwards
Vice President and General Counsel
World Council of Credit Unions

Creating Credit Unions for Cuba

In many countries worldwide, credit unions have helped provide economic and social stability for communities and their citizens. Current updates to the political and economic infrastructure in Cuba indicate that the time is right to introduce member-owned financial cooperatives to the 11.4 million residents who live and work on the island that is the United States' closest Caribbean neighbor.

Credit unions could help agricultural producers such as this avocado farmer better develop his business.

The process of cooperative development has been underway in Cuba since 2011, when economic and legal reforms saw the government begin to spin out certain employment sectors to reduce the strain on its overall budget. Business cooperatives, particularly in the agricultural and small production and services sectors, began to form with the government's blessing, assuming cooperative or private ownership of enterprises that were once run by the state.

The government's overall goal is to reduce state levels of employment by moving 45% of employees to the non-state sector—cooperatives and private enterprises—leaving the remaining 55% of employees in the state sector. Today, the University of Havana states they have 35% in the non-state sector, but all trends point to a continued progression toward the government's goal of greater economic and personal freedom for Cuban citizens, according to Brian Branch, World Council of Credit Unions' president and CEO, who has made several trips to Cuba this year to assess the situation.

"Credit unions help build a civic culture of democratic values and participation of all individuals in political life," Branch said. "For many, credit unions have provided the first opportunity to actively take control of decisions that affect their lives."

By offering members the ability to participate in the election process and hold their elected representatives accountable to good governance practices, credit unions can provide greater accountability and better serve the needs of their members and the communities they serve, Branch explained.

The ability for members to learn principles of self-reliance and benefit from the results of their own efforts makes the cooperative structure beneficial all parties involved, while helping the Cuban government accomplish its current economic goals of increased private ownership in an emerging culture of private enterprise.

"We're asking for a legal framework within Cuba that would allow credit unions develop in a way that would most effectively serve the majority of the Cuban people," Branch said. "We believe one pilot credit union allowed to provide credit and savings opportunities to its members would quickly demonstrate its value in helping government and community officials accomplish their goals." From that one seed, Branch added, a Cuban credit union movement could flourish and grow, offering improved economic and social lives for all the members it serves.

Stay up-to-date at www.CreditUnionsforCuba.org

Browse each photo story to learn more:

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Opportunities to Connect with World Council

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


Join us in Belfast, Ireland, for the 2016 World Credit Union Conference, the premier global event, hosted by the World Council of Credit Unions.

Let your voice be heard to make an impact on the challenges and issues facing the credit union industry. In 2016, you have your chance to be heard. We want you to be a part of this can't-miss event taking place at the Waterfront Hall.

Join us July 2016 for an unforgettable experience! Registration will be available soon. Stay tuned at www.CUinBelfast2016.org!


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.

Contributions from Worldwide Foundation Supporters allow 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.


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.

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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.

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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.

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