WASHINGTON (6/5/14)--Credit union development, worldwide and here in the United States, was the subject of a joint presentation by the leaders of the Credit Union National Association and the World Council of Credit Unions (World Council) during a one-hour session Wednesday hosted by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney (facing camera) outlines the financial benefits that consumers realized from credit unions in 2013--nearly $8.5 billion--during a presentation before staffers at the U.S. Agency for International Development. At right, in background, is World Council of Credit Unions CEO Brian Branch. (CUNA photo)
CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney gave participants an overview of the origins of U.S. credit unions, as well as their current state with a continuing trend of increased lending and membership
as reported by the National Credit Union Administration in its call report data released Tuesday.
He focused on the financial benefits that credit unions provide to consumers-- nearly $8.5 billion in savings in 2013--in part through lower rates on loans, higher returns on savings and lower and fewer fees. Cheney also noted the recent, surging growth of credit union memberships, now on the threshold of 100 million nationwide.
Cheney and Brian Branch, president/CEO of World Council, noted that the same solutions successfully implemented by U.S. credit unions to reach that membership milestone also have helped millions of people in developing and emerging economies. Branch noted such innovations as mobile technology strategies that leverage networks to serve more members more effectively and to extend savings and credit to remote areas.
Branch also explained the roles that credit unions are taking around the world to benefit consumers, including such developments as: Agricultural lending programs that have improved small-farmer access to markets; a remittance service that has transferred more than $4 billion to recipients through credit unions around the world in the past 10 years, and a cooperative-led, Islamic-based finance model.
He also noted how the use of mobile technology to extend credit union services to remote areas around the globe is becoming more widespread, and how--for the past 15 years--the World Council has linked credit union movements through electronic payments, including remittances, shared branching, card services, and now mobile technology.