The world holds more than 56,000 credit unions in 101 countries. Those credit unions serve more than 200 million members and go by many names: financial cooperative, SACCO, SKOK, savings house, caisse populaire, banque populaire, caja popular, or caja de ahorro.
Whatever the name, we all share a common mission and a common set of values.
Our mission is the financial empowerment of members. Our values are about trust, mutual help, and self-help. We belong to a global community of people dedicated to putting first what is right for members, their families, and communities.
Credit unions face the same challenges in other countries as they do in the U.S.— increasing regulatory burden, payments innovations, sustainability of small credit unions, young membership growth, competition from new entrants, and market disrupters.
Our answers are creative, innovative, and diverse. We build a community by sharing lessons learned. The U.S. credit union system provides leadership to the rest of the world on how to tackle shared challenges.
Credit unions worldwide will gather July 27-30 in Gold Coast, Australia, to exchange best practices at the 2014 World Credit Union Conference. We hope you join us for this golden opportunity to share the U.S. leadership experience with others and to learn from their solutions to common challenges.
BRIAN BRANCH is the president/CEO of the World Council of Credit Unions.