World Council of Credit Unions’ President/CEO Elissa McCarter LaBorde identified the strengths of the global credit union industry and issued some challenges to its leaders in her inaugural “State of the Movement” address during Monday morning’s general session at the 2022 World Credit Union Conference.
“If we really want to maximize our potential we have to focus on our strengths, we have to double down on our strengths,” McCarter LaBorde told an auditorium full of international credit union professionals.
McCarter LaBorde elaborated that she believes the global credit union movement has three specific strengths in:
- numbers of credit unions and members;
- diversity in the types of institutions (credit unions, SACCOs, mutual banks) and continents served; and
- disruption through pioneering institutions who are leading the way on digitalization and other emerging areas of finance.
But she also issued challenges to attendees, asking them to ensure their credit unions are more inclusive, resilient and green — and to identify “champions” in the movement who are pioneers in digital finance, climate resilience or sustainable finance.
“Some of you have heard this expression — you gotta go big or you gotta go home. So, I really think we gotta go big,” said McCarter LaBorde. “There are still 1.4 billion people who are unbanked. And I would argue another three billion, in the data I have seen, who are underbanked, who don’t have good financial choices and affordable credit. And that is where we are here as credit unions, with a business model that truly serves that purpose.”
The conference, being held in Glasgow, Scotland, runs through Wednesday, July 20.