WOCCU Volunteer Bill Raker Makes an Impact in Cambodia
Volunteer staff members of Krang Ampil Village Bank credit union met
with Raker to discuss their credit union’s operations. Pictured (l-r):
Vong Sarinda, Cambodian Community Finance Institution Network
coordinator, Bill Raker, Kundi Lay, Cambodian Credit Union Foundation
of Australia project manager, and Van Sam On, Krang Ampil Village Bank
treasurer. Photo courtesy of Bill Raker.
Madison, WI—Bill Raker, President and
of US Federal Credit Union, traveled to Cambodia
last month to assess prospective credit unions
as part of the World Council of Credit Unions
(WOCCU)-Credit Union Foundation of Australia
(CUFA) collaborative effort to foster credit
union growth in Cambodia.
One-third of Cambodia’s 14 million people
below the country’s poverty level of US$0.50 per
day. Raker visited credit unions in two villages
in the rural rice farming area 100 kilometers
from the capital city of Phnom Penh.
Of his trip, Raker reported, “The two credit
unions I visited were in an area that has an
agrarian, underdeveloped, minimalist economy.
The visit to Cambodia was an eye-opening, life-
He found people living in wooden homes on
surrounded by rice fields. Pigs, chickens and
ducks roamed freely around the dirt floors and
cattle were tethered inside the houses. Water
flowed only from hand-pumped wells, and there
was no electricity.
Raker met with Takeo Farmers’
volunteer credit union directors in a multi-purpose community building
that served as the central office for the credit union’s operations.
Photo courtesy of Bill Raker.
Raker was one of the first foreigners ever to
visit the remote village of Krang Ampil Village
Bank credit union. First organized in 2001, the
credit union has 47 members from a village of
about 125 families. Members pool their savings
to provide loans for fellow members to buy
chickens for raising and selling, fertilizer and
rice for planting, and goods for selling in the
One female member used a loan from Krang
Village Bank credit union her to buy a sewing
machine. She now uses the machine to make silk
items that she sells to support her family.
Given the history of conflict in Cambodia,
people tend to mistrust government, politicians
and each other. “Yet members are learning to
trust each other through their experiences with
their credit unions,” Raker commented.
Founded just last year, Takeo Farmers credit
union brings together 1,402 members from 26
village associations. Village members elect
volunteer “directors,” who oversee the credit
union by receiving and accounting for the
deposits and approving and administering loans.
Takeo Farmers’ loans are primarily for
agriculture and retail commerce for self-
One credit union family explained to Raker
they were saving for emergencies, illness and
old age. The same family had accessed a credit
union loan for an ox cart to carry fertilizer to
the fields and to haul their garden produce to
sell in the local market at harvest time.
Brian Branch, Chief Operating Officer and
Vice President of WOCCU explained, “There is a
tremendous amount of talent and good will in the
credit union movement in Cambodia. Through
collaboration within the international credit
union system, volunteers like Bill Raker reach
out and make an impact in some of the most
remote and underserved communities in the world
The WOCCU-CUFA development program will
credit unions with solid growth potential so
they can construct buildings and generate
confidence in their communities to attract new
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.
Contact: Rebecca Carpenter
Organization: World Council of Credit Unions