Credit Unions' Role in Remittances Highlighted

July 01, 2005

A credit union member in Mexico recieves an IRnet transfer.

Washington, D.C. - The pivotal role that credit unions play in the Latin American remittance market was on display this week in Washington, D.C. before policy makers, money transfer operators, credit unions, banks and donor organizations. In the opening remarks of Inter- American Development Bank's (IDB) International Forum on Remittances, Donald Terry of the IDB noted the increasing role of credit unions in the remittance market. Credit union accolades were echoed by Senator Paul Sarbanes of Maryland during his luncheon remarks, with credit union professionals from the Latino Community Credit Union in North Carolina, ESCOCABA (a Guatemalan credit union) and World Council of Credit Unions, Inc. (WOCCU) serving as panelists in a variety of sessions.

The IDB's International Forum on Remittances was one of the largest remittance-focused conferences ever held, hosting 650 participants from throughout the hemisphere. In conjunction with the IDB's Forum on Remittances, The World Bank launched it's first book on the topic, titled "Remittances: Development Impact and Future Prospects," at press conference that included a panel discussion by editors of the book, Samuel Munzele Maimbo and Dilip Ratha of The World Bank and contributing author Dave Grace, senior trade association manager of WOCCU.

"We were delighted to hear references to credit unions in nearly every session over the three day conference," noted Pablo DeFilippi, WOCCU's IRnet manager. "While it's gratifying to see that people are recognizing the important work of credit unions in the United States and Latin America in providing remittance services and banking the unbanked, we now need to leverage this position in the market to remove legislative and regulatory barriers that still exist for credit unions in Dominican Republic, Mexico, the Philippines and the United States which prevent them from offering remittances in a more efficient manner," continued DeFilippi.

To learn more on WOCCU's work with international remittances and IRnet visit WOCCU's website at

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 300+ technical assistance programs in 89 countries. Worldwide, 68,882 credit unions in 109 countries serve 235 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at

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