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Association of Asian Confederation of Credit Unions' CEO Explains Members' COVID-19 Response on Regional Webinar

The following post was provided by the Association of Asian Confederation of Credit Unions (ACCU), a World Council affiliate member representing nearly 30 national credit union associations.

On the May 7, ACCU CEO Elenita San Roque was invited to speak at the 2nd Webinar organized by Value-chain Capacity Building Network (VCBN), entitled: "The impact of the COVID-19 Crises on financial aspects of agricultural Value Chain/Market System Development and the role of financial service providers."

San Roque shared the following points with the webinar attendees: 

  • Most credit unions are prepared to deal with natural disasters (local, short duration) but not an unprecedented event like the current crisis (globally, long term). The fact that many credit union members do not have sufficient emergency savings, or their credit unions do not have digital means to deliver services in times of lock-downs became a challenge.
  • Credit union members express their immediate needs and demands from their credit union, particularly giving them moral support, providing hope and future perspective. Empathy with their situation is key.
  • Credit unions play a role in promoting COVID-19 prevention and protection in and outside the workplace.
  • At the immediate level, moratoriums and renegotiation of loans is crucial to financial stability. Granting of new loans (with exception of production loans to SMEs and farmers) is not encouraged during crisis times.
  • Mid-term portfolio reviews and cash flow projections based upon scenario building are required to develop future strategies of individual credit unions. Individual credit unions have crisis management committees and are cooperating with, and advocating to, regulators and government.
  • Due diligence and the build-up of emergency funds is of crucial importance at the household/member level, as well as the credit union level. In order to increase resilience at the household level, ACCU advises building up a financial reserve covering six months of family expenses. 
  • The crisis has also made clear that the application of digital service channels, together with investments in digital literacy for member, is essential to the credit union movement.    

The Value Chain Capacity Building Network (VCB-N) is the biggest regional network on value chain and market system development in the Asia-Pacific Region, providing professional advisory services and capacity building support to a variety of clients. The VCB-N pools expertise of ‘Centres of Excellence’ from seven countries, allowing for tailored service delivery that complements cutting edge international marketing concepts with local insights and experiences. 

Aside from ACCU, speakers on the Webinar included representatives from IFAD, HELVETAS, Rabo Foundation, and CapPlus.