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From Credit Unions, For Credit Unions

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Building Credit Union Resiliency, Enabling Digital Payments in Asia

The following post is provided by the Asian Confederation of Credit Unions (ACCU), a World Council associate member.

Earlier this year, ACCU prepared "A Guide to Credit Unions: Business Continuity Plan Template" to accelerate the deployment of a plan for credit unions to mitigate risks posed by the ongoing pandemic. 

The cooperative financial institutions would rely on the resilience of people—their members, staff and communities—for their own resilience. That means the credit union business continuity plan will not only concentrate on the organizational recovery and operation plan—but also extend to improving the physical and financial heath of those people who are the core pillars of the cooperative.

ACCU offered four days of training related to the guide in August, with 26 attendees from Nepal, Indonesia and the Philippines successfully completing the program. At the end of the training, at least 20 business continuity plans (BCPs) were completed by participants for their credit union or a credit union they assisted.

“The BCPs are prepared based on actual situations and can be operationalized upon approval of the board,” said ACCU CEO Elenita San Roque.

The participants completed the BCPs with the involvement of the credit union leaders and management. 

The template provided a framework that enables credit unions to identify staff, member and institutional risks—and responses to those risks. It also provides member interview tools and sample policy templates to support the new operation of the credit unions. 

The BCP training sessions will continue in October.

Enabling digital payments

On August 6, ACCU CEO Elenita San Roque attended an online training organized by Social Performance Task Force (SPTF) and Micro-Credit Ratings International Limited (M-CRIL) aimed at enabling microfinance institutions' (MFIs) senior management personnel to acquire the necessary knowledge and capacities to enable digital payments for their customers. 

COVID-19 has caused the MFI sector to suffer the full force of the slowdown in economic activity and lockdowns, resulting in reduced cashflows and difficulties in conducting normal operations—making the pandemic a ’fundamental threat’ for the sector.

But as the crisis management approach moves from complete lockdowns to a gradual reopening, it is imperative that MFIs prepare for this new normal. A critical part in this process will be enabling digital payments (disbursements and collections). This will help MFIs conduct business operations while maintaining social distancing and cashless operations.

SPTF and M-CRIL have come together to help organize a focused orientation session to facilitate MFIs in this process of enabling low-cost, efficient and suitable digital payments going forward.