Ecuadorian Earthquake; Credit Union Services Suspended, Members Affected
April 20, 2016
MADISON, Wis. — Hundreds of lives have been lost and credit unions devastated following Saturday's 7.8 magnitude earthquake near Ecuador's northern coast, where World Council is working to bring payment systems to rural credit unions. As aftershocks continue to shake the region, rescuers search for survivors and credit unions try to reopen.
"It's the worst tragedy in 60 years," Defense Minister Ricardo Patiño said. "We're facing the most difficult phase right now, which is rescuing victims and recovering bodies." This is Ecuador's deadliest earthquake since 1987, and it is expected to "take years to recover," Patiño said.
According to preliminary reports by World Council's Ecuadorian partner Coonecta, the earthquake damaged 26 credit unions, affecting 252,343 members in the region. Power outages, broken communication lines and damage to physical infrastructure is preventing credit union members from accessing their financial resources such as savings, remittances and payment systems.
Thanks to generous support from CUNA Mutual Group, World Council will provide immediate relief to credit union staff and support credit union rebuilding efforts. Much-needed cash contributions from the global credit union industry and individuals will offer additional assistance to those whose lives have been devastated.
Over the last three years, World Council has raised over US$500,000 to rebuild credit unions in the Philippines and Nepal following natural disasters in 2013 and 2015, respectively. With support from the global credit union movement, World Council has leveraged its resources to rebuild hundreds of financial institutions, improve infrastructure and bring rehabilitation services to millions of members in these countries.
To support the rebuilding of Ecuadorian credit unions, donations via check, credit card or wire may be sent to:
Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions, Inc.
5710 Mineral Point Road
Madison, WI 53705, USA
Please indicate your donation is designated for Ecuador Earthquake Relief.
Donations can also be made online today at www.woccu.org/give.
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 300+ technical assistance programs in 89 countries. Worldwide, 68,882 credit unions in 109 countries serve 235 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.