Kenya, Ghana CU systems recognized at World Council Annual General Meeting

World Council Board Chair World Council Board Chair

Two national credit union associations from Africa and one from Asia won awards for membership growth at World Council of Credit Unions' (WOCCU) 2020 Annual General Meeting, held virtually for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

WOCCU's 2020 Membership Growth Awards, based on data derived from its most recent Annual Statistical Report, went to:

Kenya. KUSCCO membership grew at a rate of 14.2percent, adding just under 1 million members for a total membership of 7.8 million.

"SACCOS began in Kenya in the 1960s and have progressively grown over the years. They sustain the lives and livelihoods of over 14 million people," said KUSCCO Chair George Magutu Mwangi.

Ghana. Co-operative Credit Union Association (CUA) grew at a rate of 50%, adding 285,444 members for a total membership of 862,638.

"We are humbled by this prestigious award as a sign of cooperation and credit union development work being done here in Ghana, and it also challenges us to work harder for the credit union movement both locally and globally. We express our appreciation to World Council for this wonderful award," said CUA General Manager Emmanuel Coffie.

"With government, social and education reforms, Ghana has made a turn for the better. This last October, World Council Board Member George Ototo and I, were able to witness first-hand the struggles, progress and success of the credit union movement in Ghana," said outgoing WOCCU Board Chair Steven Stapp, referring to his and Ototo's historic 2019 trip to the country. "We continue to stand with you and celebrate your success."

South Korea. National Credit Union Federation of Korea (NACUFOK) membership increased 19.8percent, adding more than one million members for a total membership of 6.1 million.

"The Korean War in 1950 left South Korea devastated and impoverished. But over the last six decades, Korean credit unions had a steady growth and are now managing US $87 million in assets," said Younsik Kim, Chair of NACUFOK and a World Council Board Director.

WOCCU Board elects new Chair

The WOCCU Board of Directors elected Rafał Matusiak, President of the National Association of Co-operative Savings and Credit Unions (NACSCU - Poland), as its new Chair, following its 2020 Annual General Meeting-the first WOCCU AGM to be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over 90 delegates from around the globe attended the AGM, which also featured presentations of the Distinguished Service Award and Member Growth Awards, along with recognition of new WOCCU members.

Matusiak becomes Chair as he enters his sixth year of service on the World Council Board. He was first was elected as a Board Director in July 2015. He was then elected Chair of the Governance and Elections Committee in 2017, before being elected Vice Chair and Secretary in 2018.

Matusiak vowed to help World Council promote and defend the credit union model around the world through its advocacy efforts and development work.

"On behalf of myself and credit union members in Poland, thank you for this great honor," Matusiak told his fellow Board members.

The World Council Board also welcomes a new Director with the appointment of Joe Thomas (Credit Union National Association – CUNA/USA), CEO of NextMark Credit Union. Thomas also serves on the Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions' Board and the CUNA Board of Directors.

WOCCU Board members Dallas Bergl (CUNA), Martha Durdin (Canadian Credit Union Association) and Michael Lawrence (Customer Owned Banking Association – Australia) were reappointed for two-year terms, while Aaron Moses (Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions), Manfred Alfonso Dasenbrock (Sicredi-Brazil), Charles Murphy (Irish League of Credit Unions) and George Ototo (Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Co-operatives Ltd.) were all reelected to two-year terms on the 14-member body.

The World Council Board's committee officers for 2020-21 are:

Rafał Matusiak, Chair – Poland

Diana Dykstra, Vice Chair/Secretary – USA

Michael Lawrence, Treasurer/Chair of Audit & Risk Management Committee - Australia

Martha Durdin, Chair of Governance & Elections Committee – Canada

Younsik Kim, Chair of COVID-19 Response Committee – South Korea

The World Council Board of Directors also recognized two new members added over the last year:

Turks and Caicos Islands Government – Ministry of Finance (Associate Member)PSCU, St. Petersburg, FL (Associate Member)2020 Distinguished Service Award

World Council presented the 2020 Distinguished Service Award (DSA) to the Indiana Credit Union League (ICUL) for its exemplary commitment supporting credit unions serving vulnerable populations, disaster victims, immigrants and entrepreneurs outside of its own country. The ICUL has welcomed credit union professionals to Indiana from Ecuador, The Netherlands, Dominica, Costa Rica, Brazil, The Dominican Republic and Guatemala for training, education and networking opportunities.

"We are honored and humbled to receive the award, and it's on behalf of all of those Indiana credit union leaders-so many of them were enthusiastic in responding to the request to be involved with the engagements," said ICUL President John McKenzie.

WOCCU's Distinguished Service Award is the industry's top global honor for worthy individuals and organizations that have shown great contributions to further the credit union movement outside of their own countries.

Championing a digital future

Hosting a remote AGM through a virtual platform may have been a departure for World Council, but it is the type of adaptation credit unions across the world have had to make due to COVID-19, according to World Council President and CEO Brian Branch.

"Credit unions instinctively went to assisting members right away with loan restructuring, advances and financial counseling," Branch told attendees in his report to the AGM. "The credit union response is more significant for affected populations than the response from commercial banks. Several credit union systems have also accelerated the expansion of mobile channels for members during this crisis. Digitization is now seen by consumers a matter of safety, not just convenience or competitiveness."

World Council continues to champion the digitization of the global credit union system through its Challenge 2025 initiative.

Source: www.theheraldghana.com