Congress Increases WOCCU Funding Pool
Washington, DC – Congress has offered its
strongest endorsement yet of increased funding
for a key government program that supports
international economic development through credit
unions and other cooperative organizations.
Acting on its annual foreign aid bill, Congress
made up to $10 million available to the
Cooperative Development Program (CDP). The bill,
passed by the House of Representatives on Nov. 4
and by the Senate on Nov. 10, now goes to the
White House, where President Bush is expected to
sign the bill into law.
Until now, funding for CDP has been left to the
discretion of the U.S. Agency for International
Development (USAID), the government's foreign
assistance agency. Despite previous requests
from Congress that the program receive at least
$8 million annually, CDP usually receives much
less. This year, it will receive only $5.2
The program provides grants to U.S.-based
cooperative development organizations, including
World Council of Credit Unions, Inc. (WOCCU),
to build and strengthen credit unions and other
cooperative businesses in developing countries.
In addition to boosting the incomes of
individuals, these cooperatives affect issues
ranging from HIV/AIDS to fostering democracy.
Through its work with overseas credit union
systems, WOCCU creates greater opportunities for
poor people to access safe and sound financial
services, including savings, credit, insurance
and remittances. WOCCU focuses its current $3.7
million, five-year CDP program in Afghanistan,
Kenya, the Philippines, Ecuador and Nicaragua,
where it works with credit unions to build
networks – expanding low-cost transaction
services for members, including remittances,
creating enabling regulatory environments,
training credit union managers and board members,
and extending credit union operations to
difficult operating environments, including
HIV/AIDS-affected communities, conflict-prone
zones and poverty-entrenched rural areas.
"This is a very significant step by Congress to
show support of the kind of international
cooperative development work World Council
does," said Pete Crear, World Council CEO. "We
can now look to USAID for opportunities to expand
the scope of our own cooperative development
program with the increased resources mandated by
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.