"How Credit Unions Strengthen Democracy" Focus of New WOCCU Publication Showcasing the Credit Union Difference

April 25, 2006

Madison, WI – The World Council of Credit Unions, Inc. (WOCCU) has released the sixth in its Technical Guide series, entitled "A Technical Guide to Increasing Citizen Participation: How Credit Unions Strengthen Democracy." The guide explores how credit unions foster democratic participation, inspire economic growth and democratic development, promote effective governance and accountability, advocate, build stable local institutions in fragile environments, engage marginalized groups, and promote sustainable democracy.

The 16-page publication is now available in PDF format on the WOCCU website at

"Credit unions," reads the guide, "embody grassroots democracy:

"Empowering members with a sense that their lives can be improved as a result of combining self-reliance together with collective action at the community level.
"Providing many members with their first direct experience with democratic decisionmaking and election processes.
"Presenting a local example of institutional responsiveness, accountability and transparency which can be used as a model for good governance on a broader scale.
"Investing in human capital by training directors, managers, staff and members to help them develop the skills required to be effective participants in institutional decisionmaking.
"Building trust among members of diverse income levels, political perspectives, religions and ethnic backgrounds to achieve social cohesion."

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

Phone: (608) 395-2000