WOCCU Approves Membership of Second Brazilian Credit Union System

Addition of SICOOB comes after WOCCU Board revises member categories

November 21, 2023

MADISON, Wis.—World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) is pleased to announce the addition of SICOOB (Brazil), one of the largest financial cooperative systems in Latin America, as the first new member added under a revised membership structure the WOCCU Board of Directors approved earlier this year.

With more than $43 billion in assets, SICOOB supports more than 14 central credit unions and 343 individual affiliated credit unions that serve more than seven million members across Brazil.

SICOOB joins WOCCU under its revised Associate Membership category, which is now open to national cooperative associations in countries where there is already an existing WOCCU Direct Member.

“The approval of SICOOB as an Associate Member of WOCCU is a source of great satisfaction, as it not only highlights our institution's commitment to the principles of financial cooperativism, but also confirms the importance of the topic on a global scale,” said Marco Aurélio Almada, CEO of SICOOB.

“Guided by the vision of a more cooperative and accessible financial future for all, our commitment is to disseminate and actively collaborate with our global partners, striving to shape a sustainable, transparent and people-centered financial system,” added Miguel Oliveira, Chair of the SICOOB Board of Directors.

In the case of Brazil, Sicredi has been a Direct Member of WOCCU for more than 20 years. But Sicredi was one of the organizations that championed for greater inclusivity through the opening of WOCCU membership to more than one national association per country, even though it meant welcoming in one of its competitors.

“Sicredi’s support for the affiliation of new systems is a very clear sign of global intercooperation in favor of a better world aimed at the development of more peaceful communities—following the motto of people helping people,” said Manfred Dasenbrock, a WOCCU Board Director who also serves as President of Central Sicredi PR/SP/RJ (Curitiba, Brazil) and an advisor to Sicredi.

Thomas Belekevich, WOCCU's Director of Member Services, believes the new membership structure will only allow for greater diversity and engagement.

“Our network is our net worth at WOCCU. As we welcome SICOOB to our global family, this example of inclusivity reminds us of the potential to do so much more together. In deepening our relationships with financial cooperatives across Brazil, we are expanding opportunities to learn, share and collaborate on our shared global challenges,” said Belekevich.

WOCCU's new membership structure also allows for first and second tier credit unions to become Associate Members if they are located in countries where WOCCU does not have an existing Direct Member. This is an important mechanism that will allow WOCCU to build relationships in nations where there are no active national associations. Associate Membership also still remains open to regional financial cooperative confederations. 

Credit union service organizations, fintechs and other industry partners that had previously been Associate Members, are now recognized in the new Supporting Membership category. 

The revised membership structure will not change voting privileges within WOCCU. Direct Members will still be the only organizations allowed to vote at WOCCU's Annual General Meeting and be eligible to nominate representatives to the WOCCU Board of Directors. 

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, 82,758 credit unions in 97 countries serve 404 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at

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Contact: Greg Neumann
Organization: World Council of Credit Unions
Phone: +1 608-395-2048
Thomas Belekevich
Thomas Belekevich

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