Caribbean countries, Ireland lead world in credit union penetration

A new report from the World Council of Credit Unions show that several Caribbean nations and Ireland have a higher proportion of credit union members than any other...

A new report from the World Council of Credit Unions show that several Caribbean nations and Ireland have a higher proportion of credit union members than any other countries.

Several Caribbean nations and Ireland lead the world in per capita credit union membership, says a new statistical report released on the eve of the World Credit Union Conference, which began in Ottawa, Canada on July 14.

The World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) 2012 Statistical Report shows that credit union membership represents 86.2 per cent of the economically active population (age 15-64) in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, 75.8 per cent in St. Lucia and 72.6 per cent in Barbados.  The credit union penetration rate in Ireland was 73.2 per cent, significantly higher than in any other non-Caribbean country.

And it’s possible that all four of those countries could be beat out by another Caribbean nation, Dominica. While Dominica did not report its penetration rate, it cited 63,559 credit union members, which would constitute 88 per cent of its total population of just over 71,000. 

In comparison, credit union penetration rates for the United States and Canada were 45.4 per cent and 43.7 per cent respectively.

In its news release on the report, WOCCU noted that credit unions in the U.S. added 2.1 million members between 2011 and 2012, its highest absolute membership growth in decades. There was also significant growth in the credit union system in Kenya, where membership grew by 25 per cent from 4.2 to 4.7 million members.

The report, which is based on survey responses from credit union organizations in 101 countries, also includes data on credit union reserves, which grew by 15 per cent in 2012 from $US 141.3 billion to $US 161.8 billion. Increases were also recorded in global credit union lending and assets.

• To download the statistical report, go to http://www.woccu.org/publications/statreport.

In this article


Join the Conversation