Madison, WI—The United Nations Financing for Development Office (FfDO) of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs has invited World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) to participate in its worldwide study of microfinance regulation.
The upcoming comparative studies on best practices in microfinance regulation are part of a larger UN project on Regulation of Microfinance: Access and Sustainability, which is aimed at enhancing international policymaking and cooperation in the field of microfinance. Five countries in each region of Africa, Asia and Latin America will serve as case studies in regulatory practices.
The UN project grew out of findings published in its "Blue Book" on Building Inclusive Financial Sectors for Development following the International Year of Microcredit (2005). World Council assisted in drafting the publication, which concluded that in order to develop products and services to better serve the poor, financial service providers needed legislative and regulatory frameworks that respect the fundamental objectives of systemic stability and customer protection while incorporating considerations of financial access.
"It is critical that policymakers establish prudential, predictable and proportional regulation and supervision frameworks for financial cooperatives," emphasized Dave Grace, WOCCU’s Vice President of Association Services. "World Council is committed to advocating for credit unions at the global level, and we are pleased to be invited as a lead organization in this effort."
World Council will be collaborating on the project with the UN Capital Development Fund, UN Advisors Group on Inclusive Financial Sectors (in which WOCCU is also represented), World Savings Bank Institute and PlaNet Finance.
"As a worldwide representative organization of credit unions and a repository of expertise in legislative and regulatory issues in microfinance, WOCCU is the ideal focal point for financial cooperatives in our project," explained Ann Orr, FfDO Senior Economics Affairs Officer, pointing out that WOCCU's contribution to the preparation of the "Blue Book" and consultations for the International Year of Microcredit demonstrated its commitment to financial access and economic development.
The first phase of the study will focus on sub- Saharan Africa and will begin next month. The Regulation of Microfinance project results will be presented at regional multi- stakeholder conferences and at the Follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development in Doha, Qatar, at the end of 2008.
In addition to hosting annually the only International Credit Union Regulators Roundtable, WOCCU has published several guides aimed at developing sound legislative and regulatory microfinance environments: Model Law for Credit Unions, International Guide to Credit Union Legislation and the forthcoming Model Regulations for Credit Unions.
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.