WOCCU Expands Its Global Reach
Just like the 14,000 member credit unions it supports, the World Council of Credit Unions in Madison, Wis., must intermittently reevaluate its structure and programs in order to best meet the needs of those it serves. In September 2011, 22-year WOCCU veteran Brian Branch became president/CEO when Peter Crear retired, and the global trade association and development agency underwent a reorganization, naming five priorities for its teams: membership expansion, deepening of global advocacy, project development, credit union network building, and international training and education.
Branch lists compliance burdens, multiple banking channel implementation and effective product branding as some of the primary challenges WOCCU is helping credit unions address worldwide. Using technology to help bring credit union services to rural areas and low-income consumers is another priority for WOCCU, he said.
In order to expand their reach and meet consumer demands for multiple banking channels, credit unions must invest in new technology, even if they have few resources, Branch pointed out. To solve this dilemma, WOCCU is helping credit unions pool their resources to create national networks, establish collaborative business systems and develop mobile technology. For example, the organization is working with credit unions and associations in a number of countries to build electronic credit union networks, providing technical assistance for savings and credit products that target low-income communities, and working with local telephone companies to develop mobile banking solutions.
Branch said while utilizing collaborative technology solutions is a great option for credit unions with few resources, it’s important for them to display individualism in their branding efforts to stay competitive. WOCCU is currently helping to facilitate 53 British credit unions’ conversion onto a data processing system through a collaborative platform that also allows each credit union to maintain a distinctive online look.