The Chief of Party and Project Director of the World Council of Credit Union (WOCCU), Mr. Patrick Muriuki, has underscored the need to uphold the virtue of a model credit union. The WOCCU official said a model Credit Union is a member responsive, financially sound, growing enterprise that adopts a business approach to its operations while still maintaining a cooperative spirit.
He noted that it is one which is not only effective in delivering needed financial services to its members, but also one which demonstrates financial responsibility and other business disciplines to help ensure its continued operations.
Speaking at the dedicatory ceremony of the offices of the Unity Savings Credit Union(USCU) in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County last week, Mr. Muriuki said the model Credit Union respects members’ rights, values loyal and capable leadership, and is sensitive to meeting the needs of its members with responsibly priced financial products and services.
“The model Credit Union operates within a market-based economy and will only survive if it meets the needs of its members at a price which is competitive in the marketplace and acceptable to its users. It encourages competition because it knows that fair competition results in efficient markets and is beneficial to its members. It pays market rates on savings and deposits, and charges market rates on loans,” he said.
The World Credit Union Official said a Credit Union is always aware of its financial responsibility to its members and as such, it does not knowingly enter into unprofitable transactions for it knows that all members must pay for them.
He said the Credit Union plans and operates within the framework of legal and financial constraints, and builds reserves in a responsible fashion while standing on its own with no financial subsidy and is aware of its role as the primary delivery vehicle of financial services to members.
“It realizes that all other components (e.g., federation, central finance facility, etc.) exist only to support that effort. With a model Credit Union development focus, the emphasis is placed at the base of the movement. For without a strong base to serve members, the remaining components will not survive,” Mr. Muriuki added.
He told members of credit union that have assembled at the program that Credit unions are recognized as a force for positive economic and social change and have provided significant value in both developed and emerging nations.
Touching on the Unity Savings Credit Union, Mr. Muriuki said it is one of the four model credit unions formed in July 2013 under the Microlead: Credit Union Revitalization in Liberia Program and a US$2.45 Million four-year project funded by United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) with finances from Master-card Foundation and implemented by the World Council of Credit Unions, Inc. (WOCCU).
Mr. Muriuki said this program began in April 2013 for the purpose of revitalization of Credit Unions in Liberia and has five key result areas which include, increasing the access to financial services, particularly savings accounts by rural and urban households and supporting Liberia Credit Union National Association (LCUNA) and the Central Bank of Liberia’s vision for a unified Credit Union movement to promote financial inclusion.
The WOCCU Chief of party in Liberia named other parts of the five key result areas as improving the institutional capacity of Liberian credit unions and improving the safety and soundness of their financial operations, saying, “strengthening the enabling environment and establishing the technical capacity within LCUNA that will lead to the sustainability and replication of technical assistance interventions by LCUNA”.
He said it includes improving the operations and capability of LCUNA to establish and maintain a network of economically sound credit unions in Liberia.