Atlanta, GA & Madison, WI (January 15, 2004) Credit Union Service Corporation (CUSC) and the World Council of Credit Unions, Inc. (WOCCU) announce an alliance that will allow the two organizations to investigate and work towards offering shared branching to serve credit unions in countries outside the United States.
CUSC and WOCCU have initially committed to establishing a pilot project of shared branching services between the United States and Ecuador. Ten to twenty pilot Ecuador credit unions will be chosen to participate and aid in the development of procedural standards used to insure future success of the program in other countries. The alliance will work to convert the paper-based shared branching system currently used in the region to an automatic network that will provide them with a safe and secure connection to the United States.
Ecuador was chosen as the pilot country in part due to its currency being that of the United States. Ideally, identical currencies result in a shorter process of converting monies from one country to another.
Initial accepted transactions will include international remittances, ATM, debit card services and eventually the addition of credit cards. Program directors expect the system in Ecuador to be fully functional by the end of 2004, along with a similar system in Mexico. Other international credit union systems being reviewed also include Kenya, Nicaragua, and the Philippines.
"The ability to share branches across borders is the next step in the process of internationalization of credit union services," said Brian Branch, WOCCU vice president and chief operating officer for WOCCU. "World Council's credit union building programs around the world have taken the first step: to bring credit unions from many different environments to the same level of financial discipline and policy in order to establish international mutualization." Branch continued, "World Council chose the alliance with CUSC because of their next generation network, which makes development efforts more cost effective."
CUSC's network has served credit unions internationally for some time, but they have all been U.S. based and typically operate on restricted access. This endeavor will be the first true shared branching network ever seen outside of the United States involving foreign- based credit unions.
"It is a unique opportunity to be able to develop a partnership with such a globally prestigious organization," said Carroll Beach, president/CEO of CUSC. "As the premiere shared branching organization, CUSC is excited about the potential of enhancing our international reach."
About CUSC Credit Union Service Corporation (CUSC) is the credit union movement's largest shared branching network representing 55 percent of all national locations and 68 percent of credit unions participating in shared branching. CUSC is the only shared branching network representing credit unions, leagues, CUSOs, CUNA and CUNA Mutual.
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, 57,000 credit unions in 103 countries serve 208 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.