World Council of Credit Unions

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World Council of Credit Unions
Formation January 1, 1971; 43 years ago (1971-01-01)
President & CEO Brian Branch

The World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) is an international trade association and development agency for credit unions headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin. Members of the WOCCU include regional and national credit union associations, cooperative associations and business service organizations in 97 countries throughout the world. WOCCU's member associations account for over 54,000 credit unions with 186 million members worldwide.[1]


WOCCU was founded on January 1, 1971 as the global trade association for credit unions. WOCCU has worked with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Microfinance Investment Support Facility for Afghanistan (MISFA) to build Islamic Investment and Finance Cooperatives in Afghanistan.[2] In 2006, WOCCU received a $6.7 million grant from the Gates Foundation to develop credit unions in Africa and Latin America.[3]

Credit union development[edit]

WOCCU supports the development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world by working with national and regional credit associations.[4] WOCCU raises the awareness of credit unions, facilitates the exchange of information and ideas about financial cooperatives, and works with policymakers to improve the legal and regulatory environments for credit unions.

WOCCU's work focuses on:

  • Institutional development and self-sufficiency
  • Market based approaches to savings mobilization
  • Increasing access to financial services through democratic participation
  • Loan services emphasizing member needs and high repayment rates
  • Safety and efficiency through financial management systems and controls
  • Assistance in developing an effective legal/regulatory framework for credit unions
  • International exchange among credit unions through partnerships
  • Micro-enterprise through access to savings and credit services
  • Support of women through awareness of gender issues.[4]

WOCCU currently has international programs in:

  • Afghanistan
  • Colombia
  • Guatemala
  • Haiti
  • Mexico
  • Sri Lanka
  • Tanzania

International Credit Union Day[edit]

International Credit Union Day has been celebrated by the World Council of Credit Unions on the third Thursday of October, since 1948. The day is set aside to reflect upon the history of the credit union movement and to promote the achievements.[5]



  • Branch, Brian & Janette Klaehn. Striking the Balance in Microfinance: A Practical Guide to Mobilizing Savings. PACT Publications, Washington, 2002.
  • MacPherson, Ian. Hands Around the Globe: A History of the International Credit Union Movement and the Role and Development of World Council of Credit Unions, Inc. Horsdal & Schubart Publishers & WOCCU, Victoria, Canada 1999.
  • Westley, Glenn D. & Brian Branch (eds). Safe Money: Building Effective Credit Unions in Latin America. Inter-American Development Bank, Washington, 2000.

External links[edit]