Cambodia Gets Two New Credit Union Buildings with WOCCU Supporter Help
Kundi Lay (left), Cambodian project staff, works with a local building
committee to construct the first of seven new credit unions buildings.
Madison, WI—Thanks to World Council of
Credit Unions (WOCCU) Supporters and Credit Union
Foundation Australia (CUFA) contributors, two
field staff are now on the ground and the first
two of seven new credit union buildings are under
construction in Cambodia. WOCCU thanks the major
donors to its “Cambodian Building Trust Program.”
The Cambodian financial system was completely
wiped out during the era of the killing fields,
and the process of rebuilding has been a long one.
Recent bank failures ruined people’s trust in the
financial sector again and limited the amount they
were willing to deposit.
Bricks arrive for this workman to lay the foundation of Nirontarak Pheap Credit Union.
Today, credit unions are rebuilding peoples’ trust
in financial institutions. Credit unions supported
by WOCCU and CUFA are improving their images and
strengthening their operations, and members are
increasing their savings levels as a result.
Critical to promoting asset accumulation and the
principal source of funds for expanding
microcredit portfolios, savings mobilization is a
key part of growing a credit union system better
able to serve the working poor in Cambodia.
“The excitement of the seven new credit union
buildings, combined with savings promotions as
basic as offering free t-shirts, have already paid
big dividends in credit union asset growth,”
commented CUFA Executive Officer Peter Mason. He
explained that the local committees that oversee
the building design and construction are often
able to leverage existing land or receive land
gifts from the district government. He also noted,
“When credit union members see the building
construction, the excitement and ensuing
investment in the credit union seem contagious.”
The international credit union community has a
vision of restructuring the microfinance system in
Cambodia so that more people have access to
affordable, high-quality financial services
through local credit unions. The joint WOCCU/CUFA
program is doing just that. Credit union staff
reported that loan interest rates decreased from
10 percent to three percent per month after credit
unions were established in their areas.
CUFA officials were so encouraged by the results
of the initial resource investment, they expanded
the project to include a training center to serve
The WOCCU/CUFA program builds on the earlier
CUFA had done with the Cambodian Community Savings
Federation (CCSF). The Canadian Cooperative
Association (CCA) also works to strengthen credit
unions in Cambodia and is contributing to the
training center. A committee of U.S. credit union
leaders assisted with WOCCU’s development efforts
in Cambodia, including: Sue Albrecht, CUNA Mutual
Group; Jim Updike, Honda Federal Credit Union
(FCU); Fred Johnson, Credit Union Executive
Society (CUES); Gordon Dahmes, Mountain America
Credit Union; Joe Guilfoy, Indiana Credit Union
Foundation; Bill Raker, U.S. Federal Credit Union;
Gary Wolter, Alabama Credit Union League and Gary
Clifford, Shell New Orleans FCU.
WOCCU thanks the major donors to its “Cambodian
Building Trust Program:” The Corporate Credit
Union Network, CUNA Mutual Group, CUES, Jeep
Country Credit Union, Dutch Point Credit Union and
the Credit Union Start-up Fund. CUFA financed
project work with resources form the Australian
credit union system. For more information contact
Valerie Breunig, Worldwide Foundation Executive
Director, firstname.lastname@example.org or 608-395-2055.
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.
Contact: Rebecca Carpenter
Organization: World Council of Credit Unions