The World Council of Credit Unions, Inc. (WOCCU) has acquired a 36-month,World Bank-financed project from the government of Mexico to extend savings mobilization technology to 16 new and eight existing Rural Financial Institutions (RFIs) in Veracruz, Mexico. Stretching from the Totonaca Region in the north to the Las Selvas Region in the south, Veracruz represents an extensive agricultural area with great demand for popular access to savings services, WOCCU said. Designed to work at three levels, the project will introduce savings services in small community savings groups, strengthen savings management capacity in rural financial institutions, and build capacity for local federations of savings institutions under Mexico's new Popular Savings Law. "As community savings groups are formed, the project will train group members in financial education and savings management," WOCCU said. "Community savings groups are expected to eventually integrate into formal rural financial institutions such as credit unions."
The project will assist rural financial institutions in achieving standards established by the National Banking and Securities Commission for deposit taking institutions and will implement a specific development plan for each institution to address its deficiencies in meeting standards. WOCCU said it will apply its model credit union tools such as the PEARLS monitoring system and business planning methodology to a variety of financial cooperative institutions, thus ensuring financial soundness and proper liquidity in those institutions where low-income rural Mexicans entrust their savings.
The goals for the end of the three-year project include expansion of savings services to an additional 35,000 clients, the implementation of a uniform and standardized accounting system for all new and existing RFIs; compliance with regulatory standards as well as introduction of new savings and credit products.