SAN DIMAS, Calif.—Contrary to current global financial trends, credit union development around the world is prospering in growth and member service. Through the united efforts of the global movement, credit unions are expanding into new countries and infiltrating difficult-to-reach markets, many of which are gaining access to fairly priced financial services for the first time.
The success of worldwide credit union development will be the topic of a first-ever International Credit Union Day® (ICU Day) webcast sponsored by WesCorp, the U.S.'s largest corporate credit union, and World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), the international development agency and trade association for the global credit union movement.
Pete Crear, WOCCU president and CEO, will be the guest in an hour-long Oct. 16 discussion with moderator Paul Berry, a former Washington, D.C., television news anchor who hosts Home & Family Finance, a weekly radio program sponsored by CUNA & Affiliates, the U.S. credit union trade association.
While credit unions in many countries are merging in order to strengthen and better serve their members, the global movement as whole continues to expand its presence throughout Latin America, Asia, Africa and other developing regions, according to Crear. WOCCU is increasing its efforts to reach consumers in both urban and rural environments and in countries with significant economic and social challenges, including Afghanistan, Kenya and Sri Lanka, he added.
"Worldwide, more than 49,000 credit unions in 96 countries serve more than 177 million members," said Crear, citing data from WOCCU's 2007 Statistical Report released in June. "Our mission is to bring financial independence and economic democracy through credit unions to people around the globe, and we're making great strides in achieving that goal."
The 60-minute webcast, hosted by WesCorp and produced with the support of Overland Studios, will allow time at the end of Crear's interview for questions from a studio audience. International webcast listeners will also be able to e-mail questions that will be answered on the air. The webcast's goal is to make the ICU Day discussion as global as the movement that the annual holiday represents, said Bob Siravo, WesCorp president and CEO.
"Overland Studios' technology will enable us to invite credit unions throughout the world to unite and celebrate the valuable contributions all of them are making to their members and the communities in which they live," Siravo added.
The webcast begins at noon Pacific Daylight Time on Oct. 16 and runs until approximately 1 p.m. It is open to the public and may be accessed by registering at www.wescorp.org or www.woccu.org. The program will be recorded and available for viewing on both WesCorp's and WOCCU's Websites. It is the first such broadcast to be mounted on ICU Day, and participants hope it will help spread the good news about the global credit union movement, said Crear.
"As a lifelong member of the credit union movement, I know we've always had a good story to tell," Crear added. "Thanks to WesCorp and Overland Studios, we now have the means to do so globally on the one day set aside to recognize our achievements."
About International Credit Union Day
ICU Day has been celebrated annually on the third Thursday of October since 1948. The event provides a time and opportunity to honor those who have made great contributions to the global financial cooperative movement, to recognize the hard work of staff and volunteer board members working on behalf of credit unions and cooperatives today, and to express appreciation to members of credit unions and cooperatives living at home and abroad. This year's theme, "It Belongs to MeTM," recognizes credit unions' identity as member-owned financial cooperatives and celebrates the concept of member ownership.
Established in 1969, WesCorp is Western Corporate Federal Credit Union-the U.S.'s largest corporate credit union. As a financial services cooperative with approximately US$28 billion in assets and more than 1,000 member/owner credit unions located throughout the United States and Guam, WesCorp operates under authorities granted by the National Credit Union Administration. WesCorp serves its credit union membership through an array of investment, credit, payment, funds transfer and settlement solutions supported by a variety of educational conferences, publications and webcasts. Headquartered in San Dimas, Calif., WesCorp also provides member service through offices in Boise, Idaho; Honolulu, Hawaii; Salt Lake City, Utah; San Leandro, Calif.; and Seattle and Spokane, Wash. Visit www.wescorp.org for more information.
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.