MADISON, Wis.—World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) has accepted for membership the Belarus Republic National Credit Union Association (RACCSMFA) and the Singapore National Co-operative Federation (SNCF) as new members of the international trade association. The WOCCU board of directors approved applications for the two organizations at its November 2009 meeting. The memberships became effective Jan. 1, 2010.
SNCF is the first national-level organization from Southeast Asia to become a direct member of WOCCU and can now take advantage of the association's advocacy efforts and technical support in serving its member credit unions. RACCSMFA has grown and is eligible for membership thanks to the efforts of the Polish Credit Union Foundation, part of the National Association of Cooperatives Savings & Credit Unions, Poland's credit union trade association and a WOCCU member.
"The Polish movement has provided critical leadership and technical assistance to support the emergence of credit unions in Belarus," said Brian Branch, WOCCU executive vice president and COO. "We're pleased that the viability of credit unions in Belarus has evolved with the support of the global credit union movement."
The recently formed RACCSMFA, which will join the Azerbaijan Credit Union Association and the Estonian Union of Credit Cooperatives as part of WOCCU's relatively new Affiliate Member category, represents more than half of the country's credit unions serving nearly 75% of credit union membership. The fledgling movement will receive many of WOCCU's member benefits, including limited lobbying support to help promote credit union growth in Belarus.
According to Vasily Matjushevsky, first vice governor of the Belarus National Bank, cooperation between Belarus and organizations like the Polish Credit Union Foundation and WOCCU is a positive factor in credit union growth. RACCSMFA's membership in WOCCU will strengthen and support that growth.
"(Membership) was made possible as a result of our active interaction with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) project," said Matjushevsky. He added that the national bank and UNDP are currently completing a microfinance development assistance program in Belarus.
SNCF, founded in 1980, will be granted full member status befitting the size of the organization. SNCF represents all but two of the country's 38 credit unions and is the only financial cooperative organization in Singapore. Since 2004, Singapore has sent delegations of between 15 - 25 attendees to the World Credit Union Conference. SNCF's current interest in membership is due in part to helping members satisfy pending financial reform requirements as outlined by mandate for prudential oversight by the G20 nations. SNCF also has contracted with WOCCU to provide short-term training and consulting services to help Singapore's credit unions prepare to meet international requirements.
"Membership in WOCCU signifies that the road taken by SNCF on behalf of Singapore's credit cooperative movement leads towards a higher standard of international best practices and governance," said SNCF CEO Dolly Goh. "SNCF's executive committee, management and its member credit cooperatives are delighted that we've been accepted as one of WOCCU's members."
Representatives from RACCSMFA and SNCF will be introduced and given the opportunity to speak to delegates at WOCCU's next Annual General Meeting, to be held in conjunction with The 1 Credit Union Conference, July 11-14, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nev., USA.
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.