World Council of Credit Unions has reached an important milestone-it's 40 years old.
The global credit union trade association and development agency formally incorporated Nov. 9, 1970, in Madison, Wis., although its articles of incorporation state that WOCCU's operations "are principally to be conducted wherever credit unions are located."
Over the past four decades, WOCCU has implemented more than 275 technical assistance programs in 70 countries around the world. In addition it has worked with credit unions to employ innovative rural outreach technologies, create an Islamic finance model for cooperatives in Afghanistan and develop agricultural finance programs that connect small farmers to markets.
WOCCU has also expanded to include community development programs that address the role credit unions can play in meeting the needs of people with HIV/AIDS, orphans and those living in conflict-affected or disaster areas. Earlier this year, WOCCU helped raise more than US$1 million in relief and rebuilding funds for Haiti, which were used to provide immediate aid and shelter to credit unions affected by the Jan. 12 earthquake.
Since formal WOCCU operations began Jan. 1, 1971, the 40th anniversary celebration kicks off in 2011 with a variety of special events, culminating at the 2011 World Credit Union Conference in Glasgow, U.K.