World Council President and CEO Brian Branch Announces Retirement
Three-decade career with global credit union organization will end in summer 2021
January 14, 2021
MADISON, Wis.—World Council of Credit Unions congratulates its President and CEO Brian Branch upon the announcement of his retirement, effective July 2021.
Dr. Branch has enjoyed a career that has spanned 31 years with World Council. Branch was promoted to his current position in 2011, and will retire as one of the longest serving presidents and CEOs in World Council history.
During his career with World Council, Branch traveled to and worked in 104 countries, developing programs to start credit unions, conduct management training, expand outreach, build networks, improve regulatory environments and introduce technological innovations.
Branch’s accomplishments over the course of three decades are numerous. He led programs to:
- Reconcile post-civil war economies through credit union reactivation in the Central American nations of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua.
- Extend economic democracy through credit union systems in post-Soviet Russia, Poland and Romania.
- Empower township communities through credit union services in post-Apartheid South Africa.
- Build community reconciliation efforts through credit unions in post-genocide Rwanda.
- Revitalize rural economies through credit union finance for agricultural crops and remote service delivery technology in Bolivia, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador.
- Update credit union legislation and regulation in Mexico and Kenya to strengthen the credit union brand and protect the ability of credit unions to expand financial inclusion.
- Introduce Islamic-based credit unions in post-Taliban Afghanistan.
- Strengthen food security through credit union crop finance and irrigation in Ethiopia.
- Rebuild communities through local credit union leadership after natural disasters, including the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and 2017’s Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
- Update credit union policy and lending to stabilize local economies in civil-war era Ukraine.
- Introduce credit union small-business lending for youth and refugee communities in Guatemala.
Branch also led the positioning of World Council to interface with international financial market standard setters, such as the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, to mitigate the impact of regulatory burden before it reached national regulators.
He established the Global Women’s Leadership Network as a peer-based professional network for women in the global credit union network and, most recently, established Challenge 2025—a World Council initiative with a goal to digitize the global credit union system by 2025.
“There is no question we will miss Brian’s expertise and leadership going forward, but he has put us in a position to successfully move World Council forward into the future,” said World Council Board President Rafal Matusiak.
World Council’s Board of Directors has begun the search for a new president and CEO, who is expected to be onboarded prior to Branch’s departure.
Learn more about Dr. Branch's passion for the work he has done in this interview with Mike Lawson on CUBroadcast.
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, 86,055 credit unions in 118 countries serve 291 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.