Global Credit Union Membership Increases 7 Million
More than 7 million people worldwide joined credit unions in 2013.
Of those, more than two-thirds of those new members came from the U.S., Latin American, African and European nations, according to the Global 2013 Statistical Report from the World Council of Credit Unions in Madison, Wis.
The World Council wraps up its annual conference in Australia today.
The number of credit unions worldwide also increased from 55,952 to 56,904, according to the report. And the number of countries with credit union systems also edged up from 101 to 103, with Rwanda and Zambia added to the 2013 report.
The 2,540 credit unions in Latin America posted the highest membership number among the world’s cooperatives, adding 3.1 million new members. The number of cooperatives also increased in Latin America from 2,446 in 2012 to 2,540 in 2013, for a gain of 94, the World Council said.
One of the smallest countries in Latin America, Ecuador, is home to the largest number of cooperatives, with 946 serving 4.8 million members. Brazil is second with 668 credit unions serving 5.4 million members, and Colombia is third, home to 192 cooperatives with 2.1 million members.
Although the number of credit unions in the U.S. and Canada continue to decline, the number of memberships in the U.S. continues to increase. In Canada, however, membership slipped slightly last year.
In the U.S., membership increased from 95 million to 97 million for a gain of more than 2.3 million from 2012 to 2013.
Canada lost 72,918 members. In 2012, our northern neighbor had 10,229,741 members compared to 10,156,823 members in 2013, according to the report.
Like the U.S., Canadian cooperatives continued to disappear mainly through consolidation. In 2012, there were 771 credit unions in Canada. In 2013 that number dropped to 724. In the U.S., 6,960 cooperatives were operating in 2012. That number fell to 6,681 last year.
Across the pond in Europe, however, the number of cooperatives increased from 2,320 in 2012 to 2,390 in 2013 for a gain of 70.
In those same years, the number of new members also shot up by more than 623,000 from 8,571,745 to 9,194,969 in a dozen European nations.
In Europe, the highest number of credit unions is in the Ukraine at 624 that serve 1.2 million members, followed by the Republic of Ireland with 479 cooperatives and 3.3 million members. Great Britain posted the third highest number of credit unions with 375 serving 1.2 million members.
Africa also is growing in credit unions and members.
The 22,385 credit unions in 25 countries added a little more than 1 million new members. Total membership grew from 16,022,707 in 2012 to 17,032,310 in 2013, and the number of cooperatives increased from 20,831 in 2012, the WOCCU Statistical Report showed.
Ethiopia is home to the most credit unions with 7,154 that serve only 706,200 members. Tanzania has the second most number of cooperatives with 5,559 and 1.1 million members, while Kenya has the third most credit unions with 5,000 that serve 4.7 million members.