Peru’s credit unions make a push for financial inclusion

The Strengthening Route initiative was launched this month in Lima

An alliance of Peruvian credit unions have launched an project to strengthen financial inclusion across the country’s co-operative sector. 

The Strengthening Route initiative is being led by the World Council of Credit Unions’(Woccu) through its Economic Inclusion Project (EIP), alongside the National Federation of Credit Unions of Peru (FENACREP). The aim is to enhance the Peruvian credit union sector and increase financial inclusion across the country.

Woccu’s EIP is a USAID-funded project set up to support Venezuelan migrants and their host communities in Peru and Ecuador. Launched in 2020, the project aims to give 100,000 individuals access to new financial services over a three-year period.

Eight of the EIP’s partner organisations gathered in Lima on 8 April to launch the Strengthening Route and discuss the challenges, opportunities and needs facing the country’s co-ops. Two key issues were identified during the talks – the first need for the country’s credit union sector to become more competitive and modernised, and the difficulties vulnerable populations face in accessing the formal financial sector. 

Oscar Guzman and Manuel Rabines

Looking at the need for credit unions to adapt, Manuel Rabines, general manager of FENACREP, said: “The needs for reorganising and transforming credit unions are becoming more evident to adapt to the new conditions of the financial environment and economic competition.”

Oscar Guzman, EIP’s director, stressed that financial services “are the basis for the sustainability of entrepreneurship and employability programs aimed at migrant and local populations”.

It is hoped that through the Strengthening Route, credit unions will be able to respond to these challenges by offering more agile, digital services to members, expanding business strategies into suitable markets and hiring more skilled employees to boost growth in the sector.

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