Chinese Credit Union Micro-Loan Program Earns ISO Certification
JIANGXI PROVINCE, China -- What started out as a pilot micro-credit loan program for farmers has blossomed into ISO 9001:2000 certification for Wuyuan County Credit Union, reports China's state-run Xinhua News Agency.
Wuyuan County Credit Union was chartered in 2000 and has since provided nearly half the households in the county with loans to restore crops and production lost to weather-related disasters, like a freeze or drought. The ISO 9001 standard certifies consistent business processes and reporting standards.
China's collective land ownership system presents a problem for the mammoth country and its legions of family farmers, who don't own their farmland and can't use it as collateral to secure loans. Furthermore, an absence of land markets prevents farmers from consolidating into larger operations to gain economy of scale.
With nearly half of the country employed in agriculture, China's government has been experimenting with micro-loan programs to boost farm borrowing and investment. To date, rural credit cooperatives have provided more than 900 billion yuan (equivalent to approximately $145 billion) to nearly one-fourth of all rural households.