MADISON, Wis. — The global credit union movement added 8 million new members in 2011, topping out at 196 million members worldwide from 100 reporting countries, according to World Council of Credit Unions' just-released 2011 Statistical Report.
The annual study revealed that the number of members grew 4.3% from 188 million members reported in 2010, while the number of credit unions fell 3.5% to 51,103 in 2011 from 52,945 in 2010. The decline is an indication of the continuing trend of smaller institutions merging into larger credit unions worldwide, according to Brian Branch, World Council president and CEO.
"In countries around the world, smaller credit unions are merging to realize greater economies of scale and develop capabilities to deliver more services to members," Branch said. "The dramatic upturn in the number of members shows that credit unions are becoming more influential, and consumers are finding them to be better alternatives than many for-profit financial institutions."
Worldwide, credit union loans increased to US$1 trillion in 2011 from US$960 billion in 2010; reserves jumped to US$141.3 billion from US$131.7 billion; and global credit union assets grew to US$1.6 trillion from US$1.5 trillion. Savings volume declined slightly to US$1.22 trillion in 2011 from US$1.23 trillion in 2010. Global member penetration rose to 7.8% in 2011 from 7.5% in 2010.
This year is the 40th consecutive year World Council has collected statistics on the international credit union movement. World Council reports data based on country responses to its annual survey and does not make estimates for non-reporting countries. The report, issued this year in electronic format, provides the most comprehensive data on the global credit union movement available and is cited widely by governments, international institutions and analysts as an expert resource.
Download a free copy of the 2011 Statistical Report at www.woccu.org/statreport.
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 105 countries serve 217 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.