Five CU-Megatrends Are Identified

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Leaders representing the 10 largest credit union systems globally have assembled a list of five "mega-trends" that are affecting credit unions. The group met as part of the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) G-10 meeting. The five trends:

1) A greater need for urbanization: In many countries, CUs wield their greatest influence in rural areas providing services to the poor. The UN predicts that within 40 years 92% of the world's population will occupy urban areas, meaning CUs must respond accordingly.

2) An increasing microfinance malaise: Despite good intentions, many microfinance providers, specifically micro-lenders, are finding their methodology questioned as to whether loans will provide the greatest benefit to the developing world, WOCCU said. CUs must demonstrate that their own programs also have an emphasis on savings.

3) An uptick in transactional mobility: WOCCU said it has made great strides in using portable technology initiatives to reach the rural poor, which has led to a need for awareness of security and privacy issues.

4) A push for membership growth: Despite challenges to credit unions in many countries, membership worldwide continues to grow, but penetration among the 20-24 and 30-34 age groups is among the lowest. Increased effort to reach this demographic, which exhibits high levels of interest in cooperative enterprise, is key to future growth.

5) Fostering an emerging middle class: Countries with strong middle classes gain political and economic stability faster than those without, and credit unions have been especially successfully in helping foster middle-class growth. Credit unions also have benefitted from the growth of the middle class, pointing to a need to increase efforts to support this growth not only for the benefit of credit unions, but also of individuals, families, communities and countries worldwide.

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