Colombian Government Taps WOCCU to Expand CU Services to Underserved
Maldonado, a member of Coopesagua credit union on the border with
Venezuela in northern
Colombia, owns a small watch repair
stand. The new WOCCU program will help credit unions reach more
microentrepreneurs like Maldonado and those who lack access to financial
MADISON, Wis.—With backing from the Colombian government's Banca de
Oportunidades program, World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) recently began a
US$1.5 million, two-year program to strengthen Colombia's
credit unions and introduce new technologies that will enable them to bring
financial services to the underserved.
government reorganized the country's financial system following an economic
recession that debilitated the credit union system more than a decade ago. In
the reorganization, the government created a specialized supervisory unit and
guarantee fund for the credit union sector. The country today has more than 200
credit unions and serves 6% of the economically active population.
Colombian government is funding WOCCU's new program, which will work with the
country's credit unions to develop strategic plans for financial strengthening
and savings mobilization and to implement new microcredit products and services
to reach a broader membership.
that the government of Colombia has noticed the significant financial,
managerial and membership growth of these credit unions speaks highly of the
level of technical assistance our projects provide to our credit union
partners,“ said Mark Cifuentes, WOCCU senior vice president of technical
services. “It is evident that the Colombian government shares WOCCU's deep
interest in expanding quality services to the greater Colombian population
through well established and disciplined credit unions.“
will also work with the existing WOCCU Services Group (WSG) office in Colombia,
SumaRed S.A., to expand products and services to credit unions in
Colombia. WSG offices are a new model
of credit union service organizations that provide technical, operational and
regulatory expertise to credit unions in countries where WOCCU has had or
currently has programs. WSG offices also assist credit unions in developing and
implementing new technologies, products and services to more efficiently and
rapidly reach underserved areas. WSG offices currently exist in
Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Kenya, Mexico and Peru.
Banca de las Oportunidades project, through WOCCU and in partnership with
SumaRed, will help strengthen and develop Colombian credit unions, giving an
important boost not only to the credit union movement but to an important number
of people who today have no access to financial services,“ said Juan José
Camargo, SumaRed general manager.
also has a program in Colombia funded by the Bill &
Melinda Gates Foundation. The program focuses on rapid membership expansion to
those living in poverty and is being piloted in Colombia, Kenya and Rwanda.
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.
NOTE: Click on photos to view/download in high resolution.
Contact: Rebecca Carpenter
Organization: World Council of Credit Unions