Global credit union membership surpasses 291 million

The largest increases over the past decade were witnessed in Latin America (153%), Africa (143%) and Asia (81%)

The global credit union movement has increased membership by 59% (107 million) over the past decade, according to new data released by the World Council of Credit Unions (Woccu).

The apex body’s 2019 Statistical Report confirms that the sector added over 17 million members in 2019 to reach a record 291 million people from 86,055 credit unions in 118 countries.

The largest increases were witnessed in Latin America (153%), Africa (143%) and Asia (81%). Membership went up 48% in Oceania, 30% in North America, 17% in the Caribbean and 8% in Europe.

“Our movement continues to grow because we respond to the needs of members by expanding services, providing more access through digital channels and putting their economic empowerment ahead of corporate profits,” said Woccu president and CEO Brian Branch.

“That growth will continue as consumer demands for safety join those of convenience and seamless integration into the digital economy. Those demands have only grown throughout the Covid-19 crisis, and credit unions across the globe are responding.”

In 2019, credit unions in Oceania saw the largest per capita increase in membership, with a 24% jump from 2018. Asian credit unions grew at a rate of 13%.

Credit union assets increased by more than 26% worldwide in 2019, while savings, loans and reserves also grew.

Woccu’s Statistical Report is based on country responses to its annual survey and does not make estimates for non-reporting countries.

As part of its Vision 2020 strategy, Woccu had set the target for the movement to reach 260 million credit union members worldwide by 2020.

In March the apex launched Challenge 2025, an initiative aiming to increase membership going forward – through the digitisation of the global credit union system by 2025.