World Council of Credit Unions
Not-for-profit financial cooperatives
Credit unions, called by various names around the world, are member-owned, not-for-profit financial cooperatives that provide savings, credit and other financial services to their members. Credit union membership is based on a common bond, a linkage shared by savers and borrowers who belong to a specific community, organization, religion or place of employment. Credit unions pool their members' savings deposits and shares to finance their own loan portfolios rather than rely on outside capital. Members benefit from higher returns on savings, lower rates on loans and fewer fees on average. Credit unions offer people much more than financial services. They provide members the chance to own their own financial institution and help them create opportunities such as starting small businesses, growing farms, building family homes and educating their children.
People living in poverty worldwide lack the basic financial services that so many of us take for granted. Without access to microloans, many of the world's working poor aren't able to grow their small businesses, and without a safe place to save money, their meager earnings can disappear. Since 1971, World Council of Credit Unions has been working to change this by creating opportunities that last — opportunities made possible through credit unions. Credit unions are a unique solution, and they take a different approach than other microfinance institutions or charities. By helping communities build their own credit unions, World Council ensures members gain access to the financial building blocks needed to support families and strengthen local economies. And this is why credit unions are a sustainable solution to help the world's poor lift themselves out of poverty.