There are five global challenges facing the world's credit unions, according to Arthur Arnold, president of the World Council of Credit Unions.
Speaking to WOCCU's International Leadership Forum here, Arnold said those five challenges for credit union development include: 1) outreach-closing the gap; 2) articulating, communicating and living the credit union difference; 3) promoting "enabling" legislation and regulation; 4) sharing technology and, 5) partnerships.
Arnold told the 1,000-plus people from around the world who were in attendance at the meeting that partnerships are necessary to stop the widening of the gap between the world of the "have mores" and the "have less." He said that based on the latest demographic projections, in 2050 the "have more" world will still have 1.1 billion people (the same as today), while the "have less" world will have grown from 5.2 billion to 7.8 billion people, an increase of 50%.
"If you are concerned about uncertainties, violence and terrorism today-you have not seen anything yet-in comparison to the possible future if the gap continues to grow," he said.
According to Arnold, 80% of the population in the "have more" world has access to affordable financial services, while just 20% have similar access in poorer areas of the globe.
"People cannot make any progress, economic or social and grow out of the have-less world into the have-more world without access to affordable financial services," he said. "That's where credit unions can make a contribution- that's the credit union mission-that's why credit unions were founded-that's how credit unions are making the difference-the human difference and that's how your WOCCU can help you to help the world's people to help themselves."
Arnold reported that over the last three years WOCCU has been able to provide access to affordable financial services through credit unions to more than four-million new members, reaching out to 20 million have-less people.
During the meeting, WOCCU also reported that globally, CU membership has grown from 100 million in 2000 to more than 118 million as of the end of 2002, WOCCU said. "However, growth in the have-more world amounted to 19% (from 80 to 95 million) whereas growth in the have-less world amounted to 15% (from 20 to 23 million)," the association reported.