World Council of Credit Unions President/CEO Brian Branch addresses the audience at the 2019 World Credit Union Conference. (World Council photo)

World Council President/CEO Brian Branch Announces Retirement

January 14, 2021

World Council of Credit Unions congratulates its President/CEO Brian Branch upon the announcement of his retirement, effective July 2021.

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.  

“For more than three decades, Brian Branch has brought the credit union difference to more than 100 countries around the globe, demonstrating that the need for not-for-profit financial cooperatives transcends geography,” said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “His work has enriched communities around the world through everything from rural farming initiatives to helping shape international financial standards. I congratulate Brian on an unparalleled career in the international credit union movement and wish him and his family the best.”

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.