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

Make 2022 the Year of Cybersecurity Resolutions

It’s that time of year again when people think about their New Year’s resolutions. These typically involve losing weight, eating healthy and exercising more. While most people do not consider making resolutions around improving their cybersecurity efforts, it is important to do everything possible to thwart scammers.

However, just like with many health-based resolutions, it can be very daunting for people to change their cybersecurity practices overnight. Trying to do too much, too fast, is why many resolutions fall by the wayside soon after the New Year’s celebrations are over. Most experts tell us that slow and steady is the right way to change habits, and that small changes stick better because they aren’t as intimidating. As a security strategy expert, I encourage people to incorporate small changes to their cybersecurity prevention efforts to be more successful. By doing so, they can increase cybersecurity awareness and protect themselves against scams and attacks.

Here are some suggested resolutions to help your staff protect your financial institution’s information, as well as their own personal data. Consider sharing this information as educational materials with your cardholders, too, so they can improve their cybersecurity health as well.

Take Extra Care with Emails

Scammers use email or text messages to trick people into giving them their personal information. Why? If a person offers sensitive details willingly, the scammer’s goal of stealing their information becomes easy. That is why scammers launch thousands of phishing attacks every day — and they’re often successful. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center reported that $57 million has been lost to phishing schemes in one year. Scammers often update their tactics, but here are some of the most common ways that phishing emails and text messages try to trick people into providing sensitive information.

  • Appearing as though they’re from a company the person knows or trusts – like a bank, a credit card company, a social networking site, an online payment website or app, or an online store.
  • Telling a story to trick the person into clicking on a link or opening an attachment.
  • Claiming that there’s been suspicious activity or log-in attempts or there’s a problem with a person’s account or payment information.
  • Asking to confirm personal information.
  • Including a fake invoice and offering a link to make a payment.
  • Claiming a person is eligible to register for a government refund or provide coupons for free products.

How to Protect Yourself from Phishing Attacks

Email spam filters may keep many phishing emails out of inboxes. But scammers are always trying to outsmart spam filters, so it’s a good idea to add extra layers of protection.

Here are four “resolutions” that would be valuable educational information for your employees and cardholders to start putting into practice for their own personal protection. Your IT resources are hopefully already aware of how to best apply these recommendations for your financial institution.

  1. Use security software to protect your computer. Set the software to update automatically to deal with any new security threats. Outdated software makes your device more vulnerable to hackers.
  2. Protect your mobile phone by setting software to update automatically. These updates could give you critical protection against security threats.
  3. Back up your data regularly. Make sure those backups are outside your home network. You can copy your computer files to an external hard drive or cloud storage. 
  4. Use strong passwords. There are many ways to create a strong password, like making sure your password is at least 12 characters long with uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Avoid using common words, phrases, or anything related to your personal life. Many services will ask you to select security questions – when you choose these, think of all the information you posted on social media, including your family names, important dates, pet names, hobbies, etc. Scammers will research your online profile to find the answers to those security questions.

It is critical to protect the data and personal information of your financial institution and for your employees and cardholders to protect their personal data as well. Let’s make 2022 the year we take action and pay greater attention to the importance of cybersecurity.

This blog is provided compliments of PSCU, a World Council associate member, and written by Gene Fredriksen, co-founder and current executive director of the National Credit Union ISAO and the principal cybersecurity consultant with PureIT CUSO. He has previously held the positions of CISO for PSCU, Global CISO for Tyco International, principal consultant for security and risk management strategies for Burton Group, vice president of technology risk management and chief security officer for Raymond James Financial, and information security manager for American Family Insurance.

Fredriksen served as the chair of the security and risk assessment steering committee for BITS, and also served on the R&D committee for the financial services sector steering committee of the Department of Homeland Security. He also served as an advisor on various cybersecurity steering committees for the administrations of George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, assisting in the preparation of the president’s Cybersecurity Position Paper.