Global movement of credit unions increases membership to 260m

The figures were released in WOCCU's latest global report on the sector

Credit unions continue to grow, with the global movement reaching 260 million members, new figures reveal.

The latest Statistical Report from the World Council of Credit Unions (Woccu) shows that across the world 89,026 credit unions serve over 260 million members in 117 countries.

This is an increase from 2016, when the report included data on 68,882 credit unions from 109 countries with 235 million members.

The study also reveals that between 2013 and 2017 credit unions gained 12 million new members in the US, 11 million each in Latin America and Africa, seven million in Asia and one million in Europe.

Woccu president and chief executive, Brian Branch, said: “This year we can celebrate as a global community. We have realised our vision of reaching 250 million members by the year 2020. We see that membership growth continues to reflect the important role that credit unions have in providing economic empowerment to people worldwide.”

The report is based on an annual survey conducted by Woccu and does not estimate for non-reporting countries. The total asset value of the global credit union movement is now US$2.14tn (£2tn).

Looking at the year ahead, Mr Branch said: “The three primary challenges we hear from credit unions everywhere are advocacy, disruptive technology and membership growth. For 2019, we will launch the logical next step and take on the second global challenge, which is disruptive technology.

“We are gearing our efforts toward digitisation, including access to core services by online and mobile channels, automation of internal processes and connection to local payments and electronic ecosystems. If we want to continue growing and competing in tomorrow’s disruptive markets, we take on this challenge, make it our own and market the advantage to serve the under-served.”

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