NEW YORK – Lucy Ito, vice president, World Council of Credit Unions was one of a group of three distinguished panelists who addressed the United Nations on October 17 at its International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. The panel was chaired by His Excellency Jose Roberto Andino Salazar, representative of El Salvador to the UN. Other panelists included Christopher Johnston, manager of research and business development, International Development Canadian Cooperative Association; and Mwelukilwa Sizya, director of research and consultancy, Cooperative College, Moshi, Tanzania. UN representatives from offices and country missions throughout the world attended the discussion or participated by video link. In her discussion, Ito addressed the role credit unions play in eradicating poverty around the world. She reviewed why credit unions have been successful in mobilizing savings and offering credit products that make the difference in the lives of the millions of CU members worldwide. Ito also pointed to WOCCU’s field experiences which she said demonstrate that offering the poor a safe and accessible source of liquidity is often more important to them than loans. “Through credit unions, people are able to climb the ladder of financial success. Taking financial success a step at a time – establishing a credit relationship, increasing wealth through savings, establishing a small business or enterprise, obtaining access to working capital, finance business expansion and meet housing finance needs,” Ito explained.

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