MADISON, Wis.—The Estonian Union of Credit Cooperatives (EUCC), which represents credit unions in the former Soviet satellite country of Estonia, has become World Council of Credit Unions' (WOCCU) newest member. At its annual meeting last month in Barcelona, Spain, WOCCU's board of directors unanimously approved EUCC's designation as Affiliate Member, the second in the relatively new WOCCU membership category.
"We're very pleased to welcome EUCC as a WOCCU member," said Pete Crear, WOCCU president and CEO. "We're seeing a groundswell of credit union activity in Eastern Europe, with more countries finding that the cooperative model provides significant advantages to their citizens."
EUCC, founded in 1999, represents the majority of Estonia's 15 credit unions, which account for 91% of the country's credit union members and 73% of credit union assets. In April 2008, Estonia joined with the Virginia Credit Union League as part of WOCCU's International Partnerships Program. A delegation of Virginia League and credit union representatives visited Estonia last year to review the country's credit union operations and challenges. The two groups will continue working together to address those challenges.
EUCC is only the second credit union association to be named to the new Affiliate category, designed for smaller organizations representing fewer credit unions. Earlier this year, the WOCCU board approved Affiliate membership status for the Azerbaijan Credit Union Association.
"Creating a dues category that enables smaller organizations to join WOCCU helps foster greater growth of the global credit union movement," Crear said. "Broader membership ranks mean more credit union members are being served in more countries worldwide. That's WOCCU's goal, and it is the goal of all our member organizations."
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.