Latest Global Statistics Prove Credit Unions Are Financially Sound

Expanding Credit Union Branches Reach More Members

September 21, 2007

Madison, WI—World Council of Credit Unions’ (WOCCU) 2006 Statistical Report shows the international credit union movement is expanding at a rapid pace. In 2006, WOCCU’s survey of 97 countries found that 46,377 credit unions serve 172 million people worldwide.

For the first time, WOCCU captured data on the number of credit union branches to discover that credit unions have more than 125,107 branches worldwide. By comparison, Starbucks has only 13,168 locations and McDonald’s has 31,000 restaurants globally.

Credit unions grew 18% in assets over the previous year to surpass the $1 trillion mark for the first time, while managing more than $900 billion in savings. The Latin American region was the leader in asset growth with over $22 billion in assets by the end of 2006. As assets grew in credit unions, so did their capital. With a capitalization level of 9.8% of total non-risk adjusted assets, the international credit union movement is on solid footing.

A topic of concern for some regions, global membership in credit unions grew 9.5% in 2006, with Africa leading the growth curve in relative terms.

“As competition in the financial sector increases, credit unions are thriving because of their consumer-oriented lending practices and their ability to provide sustainable financial services for everyone,” said Pete Crear, WOCCU President & CEO. He added, “Credit unions instill confidence in an uncertain environment like today’s. We’re witnessing this firsthand as deposit levels are on the rise worldwide.”

By year-end 2006, WOCCU was implementing 19 multi-year technical assistance programs to strengthen credit unions in 15 countries, including six new programs in Afghanistan, Colombia, Kenya, Peru, Rwanda and Sri Lanka.

WOCCU has collected statistics on the international credit union movement from both member and non-member countries for 35 years to publish in its annual Statistical Report. The only source for such comprehensive data on the global credit union movement, WOCCU’s Statistical Report is widely cited by governments, international institutions and analysts. Download a copy of the 2006 report in English, French or Spanish, at: The full historical data set is also available online.

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

Organization: World Council of Credit Unions
Phone: (608) 395-2000