World Council of Credit Unions President/CEO Elissa McCarter-Laborde discusses the power of credit unions during the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C., Tuesday. (Photo by

Harnessing the worldwide movement

World Council of Credit Unions’ advocacy efforts felt by all.

March 1, 2022

The primary focus of the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) is advocacy efforts in the United States, but it’s just as important to be aware of what’s going on globally. 

“You are the U.S. movement, but you are also part of the worldwide movement,” Elissa McCarter-Laborde, president/CEO of World Council of Credit Unions, told GAC attendees Tuesday. 

With 86,000 credit unions worldwide serving 375 million members in 118 countries, McCarter-Laborde says that’s 400 million touchpoints, including those who are directly impacted by the current war in Ukraine.

World Council launched a relief fund earlier this week to assist displaced Ukrainians. After the reception, a member of the catering staff, who is Ukrainian, came up to the presenters, said he wasn’t aware that was what the reception was for, and thanked them for what they were doing.

“That’s the power of who we are,” McCarter-Laborde says. 

McCarter-Laborde says there are two reasons American credit unions should be aware of World Council’s advocacy efforts and the impact they have on the movement in the United States. 

‘You are the U.S. movement, but you are also part of the worldwide movement.’
Elissa McCarter-Laborde

1. International standards. World Council makes its presence and stance known when global financial policy standards are being set.

McCarter-Laborde gave the example of the role it played with the G20 adopting a financial inclusion plan that supports financial inclusion in national policies and strategies and acknowledges the need for proportionality, or right-sizing regulations, which allows smaller institutions to continue to serve their communities. 

2. Movement growth. While the global movement has 400 million touchpoints, McCarter-Laborde says it needs more.

Continued growth and innovation not only enables credit unions to continue serving members, but it also gives leaders in the movement a seat at the table where critical policy decisions are made.

“We need to make sure our voices are heard and that we’re there at the table to ensure that financial inclusion is first and foremost on everyone’s agenda,” she says.

►Visit CUNA News for more conference coverage. Get live updates on Twitter via @CUNA_News, @cumagazine, @cuna, and #CUNAGAC. Follow the conference on Facebook and Instagram and visit for more information.