Arnold Calls On Louisiana CUs To Continue Support Of International CU Development
Madison, WI-At the Louisiana Credit Union
League's (LCUL) 70th Annual Meeting in New
Orleans, World Council of Credit Unions, Inc.
(WOCCU) president and CEO, Arthur Arnold
presented the Keynote address, Why
CU Development. Arnold passionately made the
for development in front of 500 Louisiana credit
union leaders, while explaining that microfinance
through credit unions is the most effective
development tool to fight poverty and provide
opportunities for millions of people to grow.
"Credit Unions or SACCOs as they are called in
Africa, are unique. They are the only micro-
finance institutions in the world who are self
reliant, self sustainable—thanks to the credit
union concept of savings mobilization, using the
micro-savings to fund the micro-credit." Arnold
continued, "All other institutions depend on
external credit or funding from large donors,
making their future very uncertain. Moreover, the
cooperative, member-owned, not for profit, but
for service structure of credit unions, makes
sure that the financial services and products,
remain affordable." WOCCU's definition of
microfinance starts with microsavings, followed
by micro-credit, micro-investments, micro-
insurance and micro-payments.
The difference in terms of development,
the 1 billion "Have more" and the 5 billion "Have
less" individuals in the world is that 80% of
the "Have more" today have access to affordable
financial services, whereas, only 20% of
the "Have less" people can claim the same in
their world. In Africa, that number is even less,
5% of the population.
"That's where credit unions come in. The U.S.
credit union system is one of the great examples
of what credit unions can do for the people,"
Arnold continued, "Africa needs to grow and
credit unions are the engines for growth—
providing micro-credits to micro-business,
including micro-agribusiness. Let's not forget
that small or micro-business are the backbone of
growth, creating millions of jobs."
Arnold shared many examples of individual
union member success stories of what WOCCU's
international credit union development has
contributed over the years to the success and
benefit at the individual, credit union and
national credit union association level.
Arnold focused on Africa in his presentation in
view of the interest the LCUL has in WOCCU's
development work in Africa. In that context,
Arnold complimented LCUL for inviting Jackson
Rwakishaija, chairman of the Uganda Savings and
Credit Cooperatives Association to attend their
70th Annual Meeting.
Rwakishaija, who spoke at the LCUL Business
Meeting on Saturday, explained, "I am excited to
be with you to share information on Ugandan
credit unions and credit unions in Eastern
Africa. Many strides have been made to continue
to improve the services we provide to members. As
we look at the challenges of the future, we are
thankful that partners like Louisiana credit
unions and World Council are there to assist with
these issues." Rwakishaija explained that his
time spent in Louisiana meeting with individual
credit unions, the League and participating in
annual meeting has shown him that there are many
different possibilities for products, services
and credit union policies within his own
Anne Cochran, LCUL president and CEO explained
Louisiana's involvement in credit union
development stating,"International development
gives us a better understanding and real
appreciation for the "roots" of our U.S.
movement's existence and for those who have paved
the way for the U.S. movement. It also helps us
to appreciate our regulatory environment, both
federal and state, especially when one works in
countries where regulation does not exist. In the
U.S., we are lucky to have deposit insurance and
strong business systems in place, such as
chapters, councils, leagues, CUNA and our own
credit union insurance company CUNA Mutual Group
Cochran continued, "International
development makes us acutely aware of the
cooperative financial advantages that strong,
well-managed credit unions can offer to under-
served populations in the United States and
elsewhere throughout the world. It also makes us
further appreciate the passion that exists within
the LCUL and enables us to develop the
relationships within our own credit unions. LCUL
feels privileged to be a part of the credit union
movement's advancement over the years. Through
legislative and regulatory advocacy actions,
product and sales development and creating the
fundamental building blocks for our Louisiana
movement in the early years, we have grown to the
levels of service our credit unions and their
members enjoy today."
In closing, Arnold thanked the League and
Louisiana credit unions for their continued
support of WOCCU's international development
initiatives, especially in Africa. "It's people—
credit union people—who can and are making the
in the lives of the world's 5 billion Have less,"
World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development agency for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.
World Council has implemented more than 290 technical assistance programs in 71 countries. Worldwide, 51,000 credit unions in 100 countries serve 196 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.