MADISON, Wis. — In honor of International Credit Union Day®, one of the United States' leading senators recognized World Council of Credit Unions' international national development work by reading a list of its accomplishments into the U.S. Congressional Record.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Wednesday inserted a statement into the Congressional Record to recognize "the importance and many achievements of credit unions worldwide in celebration of the 63rd annual International Credit Union Day." In addition to WOCCU's work, Feinstein's comments also recognized the accomplishments of Credit Union National Association, WOCCU's U.S. member, and its credit unions in helping provide "affordable and safe financial services to many Americans of moderate means."
"We are deeply honored by Sen. Feinstein's recognition of World Council's achievements," said Brian Branch, WOCCU president and CEO. "Our future efforts will benefit from such support."
In her recognition of WOCCU's global achievements, Feinstein acknowledged WOCCU's efforts to develop innovative technology to provide financial services remotely to rural populations in Kenya, Mexico and Peru through handheld personal digital assistants and point-of-sale devices.
The California lawmaker also recognized WOCCU's efforts at helping credit unions in developing countries fill the agricultural lending gap by instituting value chain financing methodologies to help farmers rise above low-production, low-return cycles and achieve greater financial empowerment and stability.
"As a result, farmers are not only increasing their incomes and producing more food for their families," Feinstein said, "they also are playing a role in securing their nations' food supply."
Feinstein also recognized the work of WOCCU's International Partnerships Program, which pairs credit unions and their leagues in the United States and Canada with similar organizations primarily in developing countries. Through the program, 25 leagues and institutions work with their counterparts in the transference of technology, skills and experience across international borders, she noted.
"By providing the world's poor with the most basic financial services, credit unions help expand job opportunities, improve local economies and promote democracy," Feinstein told Congress. "In short, credit unions offer a sustainable development solution to some of the world's poorest countries, and this is the credit union difference."
Feinstein is one of 21 backers in the U.S. Congress of S.509, the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act that seeks to increase the U.S. credit union member business lending cap to 27.5% of assets, up from 12.25%.
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, 51,000 credit unions in 100 countries serve 196 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.