United Nations Recognizes Credit Unions As Key Component of Building Inclusive Financial Systems
The United Nations (U.N.) officially ended its
2005 Year of Microcredit earlier this week by
publishing "Building Inclusive Financial Sectors
for Development." The document, known as the Blue
Book, is the culmination of work by the United
Nations and its exploration into how financial
sectors can broaden access of financial services
to help reduce poverty. The U.N. report recognizes
that credit unions have been early innovators in
microfinance and that "credit unions continue to
show lower costs and higher efficiencies in
delivering services than many other institutions
and often target rural areas."
"We are pleased that credit unions are so
prominently discussed in such an important U.N.
document," indicated Dave Grace, World Council of
Credit Unions (WOCCU) senior manager of
association services. "As government officials
around the world look to increase access to
financial services, they will be referencing this
piece of work for years to come and seeing the
important role that credit unions play in such
efforts," continued Grace. U.N.'s Blue Book
specifically mentions World Council of Credit
Unions, its IRnet remittance service, and its
credit union activities in Guatemala, Mexico,
Senegal and Nicaragua.
Assuring that credit unions were appropriately
represented in the U.N. report was no small task.
World Council participated in two invitation-only
stakeholder meetings, held by the United Nations
in New York and Geneva and was selected as one of
a handful of microfinance experts from around the
world that the U.N. interviewed with
regard to their opinions on building inclusive
financial systems. WOCCU staff also conducted two
targeted seminars for U.N. staff in 2005,
participated in the Friends of the Year of
Microcredit Committee, and reviewed various
sections of the Blue Book in the weeks leading up
to its publication.
The Blue Book can be accessed on-line at
WOCCU has held special observer status with
the United Nations since 1978.
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.
Phone: (608) 395-2000