WOCCU Seeks Support for Victims of Australian Brushfires

February 11, 2009

Organization: World Council of Credit Unions
Phone: (608) 395-2000
2009_2_11_Australian brushfire
Brushfires have devastated the Australian state of Victoria, already claiming nearly 200 lives.

MADISON, Wis.—World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) has established a fund to help victims of Australia's brushfires, many of whom are members of the country's credit unions. WOCCU is working in collaboration with Credit Union Foundation Australia (CUFA) to collect tax-deductable contributions that will be administered through the Red Cross Victorian Brushfire Appeal.

"The brushfires in Australia already have claimed close to 200 lives," said Brian Branch, WOCCU's executive vice president and chief operating officer. "In the true cooperative spirit, we're asking the global credit union movement to support Australian credit unions as they strive to serve their members during this crisis."

The brushfires have ravaged Victoria state, threatening several credit unions, their branches and many of their more than 250,000 members, according to reports. Police in Victoria believe the fire may have been the work of arsonists.

"We have a number of member organizations that have been directly impacted by the fires," said Karen Smith, spokesperson for Abacus Australian Mutuals, the Australian credit union trade organization and a WOCCU member. "At this stage we have no reports of staff lost, but many members have lost their homes and there is potential that some of them may have perished in the fires."

Much-needed cash contributions from credit unions and individuals worldwide will provide assistance to those whose lives have been devastated by the brushfires.

U.S. tax-deductible donations may made with a credit card online at Donations may also be sent by check to Valerie Breunig's attention at: Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions, Inc., 5710 Mineral Point Road, Madison, WI 53705. In all cases, please indicate that your donation is designated for the Australian Brushfire Relief Fund.

To wire funds or for more information, contact Valerie Breunig, Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions, (608) 395-2055 or

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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