Elissa McCarter LaBorde Named Next President and CEO of World Council
New leader brings more than 20 years of experience heading international financial inclusion and microfinance efforts
June 28, 2021
MADISON, Wis.—World Council of Credit Unions’ Board of Directors has selected Elissa McCarter LaBorde as the organization’s new President and Chief Executive Officer.
Ms. LaBorde brings more than 20 years of experience leading organizations in delivering financial services to underserved communities across the globe.
“Elissa went through a long selection process with the best results and was unanimously selected by the WOCCU Board of Directors,” said Rafał Matusiak, WOCCU Board Chair.
Since 2009, Ms. LaBorde has served as Chief Executive Officer of Vitas Group, a for-profit holding company she established under Global Communities, an international development and humanitarian aid organization that operates in 27 countries. Vitas Group has become the largest commercial retail microfinance operation in the Middle East. Over the last decade, its subsidiaries have disbursed over $3 billion dollars at a less than 1% annual default rate to small business owners. Vitas employs over 1,300 local professional staff in Romania, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Iraq and Egypt, with a dedicated IT Hub in Serbia.
Under Ms. LaBorde’s leadership, Vitas established three major initiatives – Vitas Values Equality, on promoting gender diversity, Vitas Ventures, an early-stage fintech venture investment portfolio, and Vitas Lab, part of an ambitious long-term shift to a data-centric, digital-first lending model.
For the past 16 years, Ms. LaBorde has also served as Global Communities’ Vice President of Development Finance, overseeing the non-profit organization’s strategy, investment and fundraising efforts, and thought leadership in financial inclusion. In that role, she is the principal liaison to the U.S. Development Finance Corporation (formerly OPIC) for loan guarantee facilities worth over $550 million, with commercial banks in Jordan, Egypt, Kenya and Malawi. She also participates in business development efforts with key U.S. and international donors.
Ms. LaBorde has lived and worked in five countries (France, Benin, Armenia, Turkey and Zimbabwe) and has traveled to over 70 countries around the world. She is a published author of two books, as well as academic journals and essays that span a number of topics related to financial inclusion and economic development. She also serves as an adjunct professor at John’s Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, a position she's held for 10 years.
Ms. LaBorde resides just outside Washington, DC with her husband, three young children and a pet fish.
“World Council of Credit Unions is a well-known and respected organization with massive reach and the potential to truly deliver next-generation financial products and services to last-mile customers all over the globe. I am honored to join its work in expanding the credit union footprint and its mission to improve the lives of its vast network of members, especially in lower-income and disadvantaged communities. The opportunity to lead and rethink how we scale financial services by leveraging technology and building on the trust that credit unions uniquely have in so many places is exciting,” said Ms. LaBorde, who will start at World Council in August.
Ms. LaBorde will be the first woman to serve as World Council's President and CEO. She will succeed Brian Branch, who announced his retirement earlier this year.
World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development platform 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 90 countries. Worldwide, 86,451 credit unions in 118 countries serve 375 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.