WOCCU Prepares For Launch of International Shared Branching Network
Adding Ecuador Based Credit Unions to Shared Branching Network
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preparations are being made
the launch of the world's first international
shared branching network, which will connect
credit unions in Ecuador and the United States.
During the last week of September, the leaders
several Ecuadorian financial cooperatives,
accompanied by World Council of Credit Unions
(WOCCU) technical officer Steve Schaefer and
representatives from WOCCU-Ecuador and the
European NGO Swiss Contact, visited Atlanta and
Denver to learn more about the system they will
soon be using.
The World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU)
been working with project partner Credit Union
Service Corporation (CUSC) over the last year to
develop the pioneer network, and WOCCU estimates
the project should be ready to "go live" by the
end of the year.
When it does, Ecuadorian credit union members
living in or visiting the United States will
access to all the services they'd find at home,
and vice versa. These services include
withdrawals and deposits, loan payments and
advances, Visa or MasterCard advances, transfers
between accounts, account history reviews and
more. The system will offer convenience and
safety to members badly in need of them,
especially recent Ecuadorian immigrants who
have dependents in their home country.
It was with these visions that the travelers
embarked on their cross-country tour of shared
branching enablers. The delegation met at CUSC
facilities, where the technological aspects of
the project will be managed. They also observed
shared branching operations in three separate
Denver, Colorado credit unions. The Colorado
Credit Union League (CCUL), experienced in
branching and linked to Ecuador through WOCCU's
International Partnerships program, has been key
to WOCCU in laying the foundation for the new
The last stop for the delegation was SunCorp,
corporate credit union based in Denver, where
CEO of FINANCOOP, the Ecuadorian equivalent,
signed papers for a new account after a
roundtable discussion with SunCorp leaders.
the opening of the account, the settlement of
shared branching network is complete, and
step has been taken toward the reality of a
WOCCU technical officer Steve Schaefer
explained, "It was a successful trip. The
from Ecuador were grateful to WOCCU because they
will go back with a better understanding of
shared branching that will allow their network
succeed." Schaefer, who is managing the
logistical aspects of the connection, is equally
hopeful about the new venture.
When the network launches, history will be
Although shared branching has existed in the
United States since the 1970s, the world has yet
to see it tried on the international level. If
the enthusiasm of WOCCU, CUSC and Ecuador is any
indication of the level of commitment of those
involved in the project, the cross-border idea
has a very bright future ahead of it.
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.