MADISON, Wis. — World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) has released a web-based version of PEARLS, its relational financial database designed to monitor financial trends and help credit unions improve their performance. The program, first developed in the 1980s, has been streamlined for easier access through a web-based version available as a benefit of membership to WOCCU member organizations.
PEARLS is an acronym that stands for Protection, Effective financial structure, Asset quality, Rates of return and costs, Liquidity and Signs of growth. The system already is being used by thousands of credit unions worldwide. Designed to complement but not replace existing accounting and monitoring programs, PEARLS produces concise, easy-to-read reports, trend information, comparisons and rankings to help identify financial weaknesses and assist in the development of improvement strategies, pricing and strategic and businesses planning.
"The new version of PEARLS represents technological delivery improvements without compromising the program's solid financial standards," said Dave Grace, WOCCU senior vice president of association services. "The financial ratios that WOCCU defines as standards of excellence that have given the program a role in statutory oversight in some countries remain the same."
The new version of PEARLS, under development for three years, replicates the software-driven program in use in both developed and developing countries. Credit union regulators in countries like Ireland, Peru and Poland use aspects of PEARLS when evaluating credit union performance. The current interface, which runs on virtually any Internet browser, is more easily accessible to WOCCU's global audience.
WOCCU this week is holding a series of free webinars for its members that cover basic aspects of PEARLS through train-the-trainer sessions in English, Spanish and Russian. Those organizations will then have license to share the information with member credit unions in their own countries. Each webinar is being recorded and will be available for later viewing at www.woccu.org/bestpractices/pearls. Upon completion of the webinars, participants will receive PowerPoint presentations and other materials, enabling them to conduct their own trainings.
WOCCU retains all ownership rights to PEARLS and will issue updates to the system as needed. A personal computer with Internet access and audio and PowerPoint capabilities is necessary to participate in the webinars.
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.