Increasing regulatory concerns and advocacy needs have led to the creation of a new credit union trade association in Colombia, leaders there said.
Eleven of the South American nation’s 192 credit unions formed the Asociación Colombiana de Cooperativas Financieras y de Ahorro y Crédito in December and met this week with World Council of Credit Unions Chairman Manuel Rabines of Peru and WOCCU President/CEO Brian Branch.
WOCCU said the 11 founding credit unions serve 600,000 of Colombia’s 2.2 million credit union members. The organization said it has worked extensively with the country’s credit unions for years, including a new program in which volunteers will use mobile technology to bring financial services to 100,000 unbanked citizens in the nation’s remote areas.
"To organize an association is part of the process of integration, first among credit unions, then with their national cooperative federation and one day with World Council at the international level," Rabines said.
Continuing development efforts and the new trade association should give Colombia's credit unions the structure they need to grow and expand services, according to Branch.
"World Council has worked with many of these credit unions for several years now, so we are familiar with their leadership, their financial soundness and the quality of the services they provide," Branch said. "We are glad to see them organize and become part of the international community."