Iranian Credit Unions Reach Out to World Council of Credit Unions
L.R. (Bobby) McVeigh, WOCCU chairman, poses with Samen Credit Union directors and staff in Isfahan.
Madison, WI—Iranian credit unions extended an
invitation to the World Council of Credit Unions,
Inc. (WOCCU) board chairman, L.R. (Bobby)
McVeigh, and chief executive officer (Interim)
Brian Branch to meet in Iran and discuss the
credit union system. WOCCU is currently building
credit unions in other Islamic environments in
Philippines, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. WOCCU
officials traveled to Iran in February to study
how credit unions were practicing democratic
exercise and providing financial services in the
Iranian Islamic Banking environment. Branch
noted, "Credit unions develop as the democratic
expression of people seeking to help themselves
in all environments around the world."
There are currently 1,600 credit unions in
serving a reported 5 million members. After the
Islamic Revolution and fall of the
Shah,commercial banks were nationalized.
Personal financial services were difficult for
most people to access. Credit unions grew
very rapidly. Most are small closed bond groups
of less than 5,000 members, yet some are very
large with state of the art technology. One
credit union visited had 40,000 members and
another had a million members. Credit unions
serve the financial needs of both individual
persons and small businesses.
WOCCU delegation with Mol_Al_Morahedin Credit Union board and staff during a credit union visit
Credit unions have operated under the
of the Ministry of Cooperatives and are now
coming under the additional scrutiny of the
Central Bank. WOCCU officials spent much of the
visit explaining to credit union, Parliamentary,
Ministry and Central Bank officials about how
credit unions around the world are supervised.
McVeigh explained, "Credit unions work with
member's money and need sound prudential
supervision. Yet at the same time, it is critical
to protect the credit union uniqueness and its
ability to provide services to those who
otherwise do not have access." WOCCU officials
pledged to assist the Iranian credit unions with
adjusting to the process of increased supervision.
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.