CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle and Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan joined World Council of Credit Unions President/CEO Brian Branch and Vice President of Advocacy Andrew Price, as well as and former Congressman and House Foreign Relations Committee Chair Ed Royce to meet with USAID Administrator Mark Green Tuesday to appeal for a shift in the agency’s international development funding to include a wider array of smaller, underutilized partners such as credit unions.
Branch emphasized to Green that WOCCU’s global credit union network reaches more than 260 million members in 117 countries—allowing credit union volunteers, services and training to reach people across the world at the community level. Those communities often turn to their local credit unions for a response during geopolitical crises or natural disasters—and those credit unions often turn to World Council for guidance and the capacity to respond. This occurs in many countries prioritized by USAID.
Nussle and Royce urged Green to leverage more USAID dollars by working with community-based credit unions to develop programs that empower the self-reliance and economic potential of local citizens.
“We thank Administrator Green for his time this morning as we joined the World Council to discuss ways that not-for-profit financial cooperatives can improve the lives of individuals at home and abroad,” said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “The World Council has a long history of using the financial cooperative model to foster international development and increase access to financial services, and with continued engagement with USAID and other policymakers, credit unions can do even more.”
Branch said increasing the access to USAID award competitions would be a good way to begin the shift toward new and underutilized partners.
“This year World Council is successfully leveraging USAID funds to allow more small farmers to secure loans and grow their yields in Africa and Eastern Europe. In Haiti, we’re helping to finance affordable green-housing initiatives and boost financial literacy programs. But none of that would be possible without the assistance and buy-in from our partner credit unions on the ground. Administrator Green seemed very open to the idea that this type of model that could be replicated across the world,” said Branch.
CUNA and the World Council have called on USAID in recent months to ensure there is a level playing field for contractors, such as credit unions, when prioritizing procurement reforms.
Nussle and Branch, in a letter for a hearing on USAID resources and design, have called on USAID to prioritize procurement reforms that level the playing field for smaller development contractors such as credit unions.
Nussle also wrote to legislators on the Senate Appropriations Committee in April requesting increased funding for the Cooperative Development Program, a global initiative that focuses on building the capacity of cooperative businesses and systems for self-reliance, local ownership and sustainability.