‘Regional Credit Unions Need Support Now More than Ever’

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Chief of Party of the World Council of Credit Union (WOCCU), Patrick Muriuki, has reaffirmed the organization’s commitment to support Liberians through a model credit union program in the country.

Mr. Muriuki, who is also the project director of Microlead, a Credit Union Revitalization Program in Liberia, said though WOCCU is there to help the Liberia Credit Union National Association (LCUNA), stakeholders, including development partners, it also needs to maintain the revitalization process and represent the credit union movement in international forums.

“To stakeholders, regional credit unions, too, need your support now more than ever to continue to offer financial services to farmer cooperatives, savings clubs and village savings and loan associations in communities that have no access to formal banking services,” he said at the close of an annual assembly held in Ganta, Nimba County, on May 25.

He told the assembly that all credit unions in the country must support the Board and management of LCUNA through due payments and participate in training activities offered by LCUNA so that their apex body can continue to advocate for them.

“As you are aware, WOCCU began operations in Liberia in May 2013 and was mandated to renovate and equip the LCUNA building, construct and equip 4 regional credit unions, connect 40,000 new members to financial services and mobilize US$3.5 million in savings and loans,” Mr. Muriuki recalled.

The WOCCU boss also said LCUNA, Regional Credit Unions (RCU) and other associations have received training on credit administration best practices, governance, and strategic planning in Liberia, Ghana, Rwanda and Sweden.

Besides these constructive networks for LCUNA and RCU, the Microlead Program is constantly working on product development and diversification for loans (5 loan products) and deposits (6 deposit products).

Insurance and salary payment services have commenced being offered at Region one (Bomi) and Region two (Grand Bassa) RCUs, and will be extended across the remaining RCUs as demand increases, he indicated.

The RCUs are also mobile money agents and have been providing mobile money services to their communities since May 2014 (with an average of 2,577 transactions to date per RCU).

The Microlead Program, according to him, has come to an end. “We are spending the next couple of weeks to link the regional credit unions and their members to other development partners in the country that have newer innovative programs in their regions,” he said.

“I would like to encourage all credit union leaders that have more than 300 members to apply for a license from CBL.

“When your credit union is licensed by the Central Bank, many institutions and development partners will begin to have confidence in your credit union,” he said.

Mr. Muriuki thanked the Liberian government for creating an enabling environment for the operation of community-owned financial institutions that contribute to the development of the country’s economy.

Meanwhile, WOCCU, with MasterCard Foundation funding through UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), has partnered with the LCUNA to rebuild the credit union sector of Liberia. WOCCU also promotes sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services.

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