WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, in a first time ever move and in recognition of the critical role credit unions serve in helping to develop economies worldwide, has designated funds specifically for programs the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) conducts in Mexico and South Africa. The committee designated up to $2 million (US) for FY2002 to be used by WOCCU “to further develop credit union systems” in these countries. The funds are part of the $1.1 billion in development assistance provided through the U.S. Agency for International Development, which includes programs targeted at providing financial services to communities that have not services before. The House Appropriations Foreign Operations subcommittee in July urged the U.S. Agency for International Development to “consider promptly” proposals by WOCCU to provide credit union programs in South Africa and Mexico. The House and Senate will consider this and other language in overall foreign operations appropriations for the next fiscal year. Mike Beall of WOCCU said the organization was working with CUNA “to make sure the language and the amount of money stays committed.”

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