Challenge 2025

The Digitization of the Global Credit Union System


A New Decade, A New Goal

In 2014, World Council of Credit Unions set a goal of reaching 260 million credit union members worldwide by 2020.

Through a concentrated worldwide effort, credit unions were able to reach our "Vision 2020" goal by 2017. But that growth was not even across all countries or among all credit unions. The credit unions that grew were those that offered core services via online and mobile channels. That is why we are now addressing how we increase membership going forward—through the digitization of the global credit union system by 2025.

Measuring Global Digitization

World Council will measure the digitization of credit unions in four key areas and report annually on the progress being made toward Challenge 2025.

Digital Channels

Offering members core digital transaction services such as online and mobile banking, online payments and online loan processing.

Shared Platforms

Connecting your credit union to a shared payments system that allows for mobile payments and integrated with a national payments system.

Risk Management

Implementation of a cybersecurity system that complies with national regulations to protect members' identity and consumer data from digital attacks and intrusions.

Data Analytics

Employing data analytics to determine additional service offerings to members, and helping to identify those that need financial literacy or counseling services.


Follow Our Progress, Tell Us About Yours

Track the latest developments in digitization by subscribing to our Challenge 2025 Blog. You can also send us updates on how your credit union or credit union system is striving to help us meet Challenge 2025 at

Why the Global Digitization of Credit Unions Will Not Wait

No matter the size of your credit union or where it’s located—its future is dependent on how well it adapts to the disruptive technology that is changing our industry by leaps and bounds each year.

Credit unions and their national systems in countries around the globe recognized the importance of adapting to this disruption last decade—allowing them to offer online and mobile services that drove an increase in membership.

That helped the world credit union system reach its Vision 2020 goal of increasing global credit union membership to 260 million people a full two years early. But for that growth to continue, credit union systems everywhere need to digitize key aspects of operations and service channels. This is Challenge 2025: the digitization of the global credit union system.

What is digitization?

Digitization includes automation of internal processes, access to core services by online and mobile channels, and connection to local payments ecosystems.

Why is this so important? Young adults communicate, shop, read the news and even apply for jobs on their mobile devices. They want to be able to access their financial services the same way. To attract more young members, credit unions need to be able to offer them that ability.

Where the expense of digitization challenges individual credit unions or small credit union systems, credit unions have the advantage of being able to pool their resources and cooperate in building shared platforms to provide consolidated back office processing and payment channels.  This reduces the costs of responding to member demand for convenience in service—expanding a wider network of points of services and negotiating with vendors as a larger group.

Digitization allows credit unions to analyze member behavior and use of services to receive feedback for product design and service improvement. Data tracking and analytics allow us to identify member preferences, risks and needs in ways that allow us to offer the best solutions to help them save costs and to achieve their goals. This builds cooperative trust. Rather than selling them things they may not need or that might seem intrusive, we can remain their trusted institutions.

Digital data management helps credit unions identify risks as well. With digitization comes increased risk to consumer data protection and cybersecurity. This places greater responsibility on credit unions for the protection of their members and increases cost.

But again, one of the advantages of operating in the credit union sector is our ability and willingness to share resources and platforms that allow us to invest in technological systems needed for scaling up solutions, extending networks and managing these risks in the digital age. Shared platforms and strategic alliances allow us to connect to digital systems through a country’s digital ecosystem to provide the member with greater convenience, less friction and seamless access. It is about making life easier.

Doing our part

World Council of Credit Unions is using its conferences, communications, projects and technical papers—as well as its engagement, training and education programs to promote and support the digitization of the international credit union network. 

We’ve even built a Digital Transformation Lab where credit unions and technology experts can exchange lessons learned and best practices in digitization.

To achieve our goal of full digitization by 2025, we must include those people in some of the world’s hardest-to-reach areas. The challenges of providing them with digital financial inclusion are great. But even there—among the poor, the refugees, the economically excluded—most are like the rest of us in one key respect: they have a smart phone. It shows how connected we all are by technology today and how digitization is one of our most powerful tools for achieving financial inclusion for all going forward.

Brian Branch
President and CEO
World Council of Credit Unions