The World Council of Savings and Credit Cooperatives is an entity that supports the cooperative sector globally. To that end, it promotes laws and offers technical assistance programs to disseminate new technologies and knowledge.
Another objective of this entity is to promote the exchange of information. Thus, it promotes mutual collaboration and the joint development of all the cooperatives in the world.
It is worth mentioning that this global cooperative guild is also known as WOCCU. This, by the acronym of its name in English (World Council of Credit Unions).
Principles of the World Council of Savings and Credit Cooperatives
The principles of the World Council of Savings and Credit Cooperatives are the following:
- Consumer partners:The members that found the cooperative receive financing from it. That is, they are owners and customers at the same time.
- Democracy:Cooperative members actively participate in its administration. Each member’s vote has the same value, regardless of what they have invested in the institution. This makes a difference with respect to common companies where the shareholder with greater participation has more power.
- Financial inclusion:The target audience of cooperatives are mainly individuals who do not belong to commercial banks . That is, they focus on a niche unattended by the traditional financial system due to various circumstances. Among them we can mention the low level of income, the low degree of instruction or even the location. In rural areas of developing countries, for example, the presence of banks is usually very low.
- Non-discrimination:Cooperatives should not exclude for any reason such as race, religion or sex. On the latter, it should be noted that WOCCU founded the Global Network of Women Leaders in 2009.
- Financial sustainability:One of the main concerns of the WOCCU is the profitability of cooperatives. That is, it is sought that these companies generate returns to their partners, even in the long term.
- Financial education:Cooperatives must provide their members with the knowledge and tools necessary for their economic and social development. This implies, for example, offering courses in finance or business administration.
- Cooperation networks:As already mentioned, the WOCCU proposes that cooperatives share information. That way, good experiences can be replicated.
- Contribution to the community:Cooperatives must promote the development of their entire town. That is, they should not only focus on the welfare of their members. This is achieved, for example, with training programs open, in general, to all citizens of the area.
History of the World Council of Savings and Credit Cooperatives
The history of the World Council of Savings and Credit Cooperatives begins with the restructuring of CUNA International. This office was an extension of the National Association of American Cooperatives (CUNA).
CUNA International was created in the 1950s to support cooperative activity worldwide. In 1970, it gained autonomy and announced its reform, resulting in WOCCU. In addition to this initiative were the cooperative associations of Canada and Australia.
Officially, the WOCCU began operation in January 1971 in the USA. based in Madison, Wisconsin. The entity was made up of 40 million members from 56 thousand cooperatives in more than 70 countries.
Then, in 1975, WOCCU achieved observer status with the United Nations Organization. In this way, he obtained a place in the General Assembly of said global institution.
In the following years, the WOCCU expanded to various territories, covering all continents. He has even reached countries like Afghanistan where he started a development program in 2004.