MADISON, Wis.—Credit unions worldwide are expanding at a steady pace, with more members being served by more credit unions in 2008 than in the previous year, according to findings just released in World Council of Credit Unions' (WOCCU) 2008 Statistical Report. Annual survey respondents from 97 countries worldwide reported that 53,689 credit unions served nearly 186 million members. In 2007, 49,134 responding credit unions reported serving roughly 177 million members in the same number of countries.
The number of credit unions responding to the survey grew 9% for 2008, while the number of members of those credit unions jumped by 5% compared to 2007 results published last year. First-time responses from Ethiopia and Haiti helped drive credit union and member growth in Africa and the Caribbean. Other areas of the world showed modest growth or slight declines, primarily in the number of credit unions.
Global credit union assets in 2008 totaled US$1.19 trillion, up from 2007's total of US$1.18 trillion. Credit union savings worldwide last year reached US$995.7 billion, also an increase from the 2007 figure of US$987.9 billion. Loans worldwide dipped slightly to $847 billion in 2008 from US$847.9 billion the previous year.
"The 2008 results show us that credit unions worldwide are effectively weathering an economic storm that has had disastrous effects on some other financial sectors," said Pete Crear, WOCCU president and CEO. "Currency valuation changes in countries around the world may have tempered aggregate financial progress as reported in U.S. dollars, but growth in the number of institutions responding this year tells us credit unions are alive and well and on the path to serving an ever-increasing number of members."
WOCCU has collected annual statistics on the international credit union movement for the past 36 years to produce 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. To download a free copy of the report, visit 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.