WOCCU-Bolivia Project Kicks Off Awareness Campaign for Financial Sector
WOCCU-Bolivia director, Rolando Salazar, speaks at the event in Cochabamba.
Madison, WI—World Council of Credit
Unions' (WOCCU) new Bolivia project, funded by
the United States Agency for International
Development (USAID), launched an awareness
campaign in Santa Cruz, La Paz and Cochabamba in
March, with the USAID director and the Advisory
Minister of the US Embassy in Bolivia in
USAID and WOCCU unveiled the Financial Sector
Support Program for financial organizations in
Bolivia among representatives from various
financial organizations during the campaign
workshop, "Development and Evolution of the
Advisory Minister of the US Embassy in Bolivia, Krishna Urs, gives the welcome address in La Paz.
Though the financial sector is the biggest
industry in Bolivia and is an international
leader in providing microfinance, it has yet to
reach the most underserved areas of the country.
While USAID and WOCCU have traditionally focused
on strengthening credit unions and their
products in their collaborative programs, the
new program aims to unite the financial system
to increase Bolivian citizens' access to
financial services in these areas.
"The idea is to strengthen all financial
institutions so that their services will reach
the markets that most need them," explained
Rolando Salazar, WOCCU-Bolivia director. He said
the announcement made great waves throughout the
country and was enthusiastically received.
Among the program's components is the
development and implementation of the "Rural
Finance Expansion Grants" available to Bolivia's
financial sector to encourage innovation and
expansion of financial services. Any financial
institution will be able to apply for grants
through USAID and WOCCU to downstream their
services and integrate the financial sector as a
The three-year, $2.4 million program will
build upon the ServiRed national shared
branching network established by the previous
USAID-funded WOCCU-Bolivia project to expand
remittances, card and ATM services and provide
training and technical assistance to increase
The 23 credit unions supervised by the
Superintendency of Banks in Bolivia have
combined savings of $250 million and $231
million in loans. With 82 collective service
points, credit unions form one of
the largest financial networks in the
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.