WASHINGTON (5/15/14)--In joint letters to U.S. House and Senate lawmakers, the Credit Union National Association and the World Council of Credit Unions advocated for re-authorization of the U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) Cooperative Development Program (CDP), and also for increased USAID development assistance to Ukraine.
CUNA and the World Council represent 99 million credit union members in the U.S. and 200 million members worldwide, respectively.
In letters to House and Senate state, foreign operations subcommittee leadership, the credit union trade associations requested reauthorization of the CDP program for FY2015 at its FY2014 funding level of $10 million. The CDP is a competitive grants program that responds to the needs of local credit unions and other cooperatives by utilizing the expertise and resources of long-established U.S. cooperative organizations, their members and volunteers.
"The CDP allows U.S. credit unions and other cooperatives to continue in a leadership role in reducing hunger and lifting people out of poverty. The resources that you make available to our cooperative development organizations generate positive impacts and results for millions of people in the developing world," wrote CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney and World Council President/CEO Brian Branch.
In urging that Congress increase USAID development assistance to Ukraine, the joint letter said such an increase would "promote democracy as well as economic and social stability in that country."
Credit unions in Ukraine were restarted in the early 1990s after the dissolution of the Soviet Union with the support of World Council, the letter noted, and added that the 620 credit unions in Ukraine perform an important private-sector financial and development role for their approximately 1 million natural person members as well as for Ukrainian small and medium enterprises.