WASHINGTON (1/27/09)--In a follow-up letter to a U.S. Senator’s recent remarks about the country’s involvement in Afghanistan, President/CEO Pete Crear of the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) said his organization strongly agrees that development assistance is needed there. Crear emphasized WOCCU’s work in Afghanistan and the organization’s willingness to help policymakers in a letter to a Wisconsin senator. The letter, sent Jan. 16 to Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), responded to a statement Feingold made during Sen. Hillary Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) confirmation hearing for U.S. Secretary of State. Feingold had noted the importance of increased military and development assistance in Afghanistan. WOCCU agrees with Feingold’s position on Afghanistan, Crear said. WOCCU has helped create Afghanistan’s first credit union system, enabling the country’s 14 financial cooperatives to serve 27,000 consumers. The financial cooperatives have $1.1 million in savings, and 1,000 new members join each month, he added. As Secretary of State, Clinton will oversee the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which funds part of WOCCU’s work in Afghanistan. WOCCU hopes that her “past support for microfinance will translate into increased development and microfinance work by USAID in Afghanistan and elsewhere,” Crear said.