First CU ATM Network In Mexico Launched by Caja Libertad
l-r: Gary Plank, WOCCU 1st vice chairman; Juan Pablo Rangel, Caja Libertad CEO, and Cesar Izurieta, director of services
Madison, WI—Mexico's second largest credit
recently launched the country's first non-bank
network, LIBERred. A crowd of more than 450,
including Francisco Garrido Patron, governor of
Queretaro; Gary Plank, president of the Arizona
Credit Union League and 1st vice chairman of
World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU); Aaron
Silva Nava, Deputy Director, BANSEFI and personal
delegate to President
Vicente Fox; Armando Rivera, mayor of city of
and other government officials were guests at
Caja Libertad's October 15th launching ceremony.
Plank delivered a speech at the event
noting, "You [Caja Libertad] are showing that
progress is possible through hard work and
persistence. We are convinced that this is not
going to be an isolated event, but a fundamental
step on the path that brings service and
satisfaction to Caja Libertad's most important
individuals: its members."
In January of 2003, World Council launched a
year technical assistance program at Libertad.
According to Cesar Izurieta, Libertad's director
of services, "WOCCU played a key role in the
development of Caja Libertad. Libertad has
always been on the vanguard of credit unions,
WOCCU has helped it to better understand and
incorporate the modern credit union
Today the organization is one of WOCCU's biggest
The Arizona Credit Union League delegation poses with International Partner, Caja Libertad
As of today, the first 50 ATMs have gone
By the end of the first quarter of 2005, 25 more
will have been added, for a total of 75. Then
Libertad will begin Phase II. For the second
phase of the project, ATMs will be installed
in companies and malls throughout Queretaro and
Guanajuato—the states in which Libertad has the
Though concentrated in these states, Libertad
a major player nationwide, with 69 branches
spanning 12 states and 32 cities. Over 480,000
members across Mexico benefit from its services,
and its combined assets total US$365 million.
Next year the credit union will open six new
branches in the states of Nuevo Leon and
Coahuila, all with ATMs, as well as four new
rural branches in Veracruz.
With such a large member base, Libertad's new
service will have an important impact on the
lives of many. Izurieta stated, "As Caja
Libertad's members have easier access to their
money, they will save more. We think the best
way to stimulate greater savings is to provide
easy access to the funds saved."
Libertad foresees positive changes for itself
a result of the new ATM service as well.
Representatives estimate that it will attract
members and encourage existing members to
transfer savings they have in other institutions
to the credit union because of the improved
access, raising Libertad's funding
The ATM project has been in
time, gathering steam when Libertad, through the
WOCCU's International Partnerships program,
joined forces with the Arizona Credit Union
League (ACUL) in October, 2003. Shortly
thereafter, representatives from Mexico traveled
to Arizona to observe the operation of ATMs in
several credit unions there. Other members of
the ACUL in attendance at the launching ceremony
Pat Bodner, Emma Garcia and Laura Lowe Edgar.
Caja Libertad serves as an example for the
Mexican credit union system, as it will continue
to break new ground when it negotiates the
entrance of its debit cards into the national
international bank networks. One step at a
Libertad is introducing Mexico's underserved to
wide array of important financial services.
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.