Rural credit union members in two Latin American countries are realizing greater income thanks to a World Council of Credit Unions program aimed at improving farming techniques while increasing member access to finances.
The five-year Cooperative Development Program, launched in late 2010 with $4 million in funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development, focuses on creating and testing agricultural and financial tools to improve rural economic and financial sector development, personal income, and food security in Mexico and Guatemala. The resulting “toolbox” for credit unions includes a replicable and scalable methodology to meet the financial service needs of small farmers and increase their access to markets, inputs, and technical assistance for production.
The program is administered by the World Council in Mexico with two credit unions—Caja Zongolica and Caja Providencia—and in Guatemala in partnership with Federación de Nacional de Cooperativas de Ahorro y Crédito (FENACOAC), a World Council member. Local credit unions have already made great strides by providing technology alternatives to members where they live and work, bringing the future of financial services to the mountainous regions of Latin America.