MADISON, Wis. — Credit unions in nearly all regions worldwide saw an increase in member savings and loan activity during 2009, according to World Council of Credit Unions' (WOCCU) newly released 2009 Statistical Report. The trend illustrates the increasingly more important roles that credit unions and other financial cooperatives worldwide played in their members' lives during last year's global recession.
Total savings for all responding credit unions reached more than US$1.1 trillion, the highest level recorded since WOCCU first began conducting the annual survey in 1972. The rate of growth represents nearly a 15% increase compared to the US$995 billion in savings reported in 2008.
Loans were another indicator demonstrating strong growth over the previous year, climbing to nearly US$912 billion from US$847 billion in 2008. This sizeable increase is further accentuated in contrast to a slight decrease in loans globally between 2007 and 2008. Annual survey respondents from 97 countries worldwide reported that 49,330 credit unions served nearly 184 million members.
In recent years, credit unions worldwide have seen notable growth in assets, membership, savings and other indicators. Cumulative assets reached nearly US$1.4 trillion in 2009, up from US$1.2 trillion in 2008, and reserves reached nearly US$120 billion in 2009, up from slightly more than US$115 billion in 2008. Strong financial performance demonstrates members' renewed faith in credit unions' resiliency during difficult economic times.
WOCCU has collected annual statistics on the international credit union movement for the past 37 years to produce its annual Statistical Report, and data is based solely on the number of countries responding to the survey. 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/publications.
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 103 countries serve 208 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.