The Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions (WFCU) disbursed three new grants worth a total of $355,000 in December from its Ukrainian Credit Union Displacement Fund to help credit unions in Ukraine cover the cost of operating expenses, purchase alternative sources of power and recover the unpaid interest on loans as part of its continuing effort to provide relief amid Russias invasion of Ukraine, according to the latest update from the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU).
WFCU identified those three areas of need in cooperation with the All-Ukrainian Association of Credit Unions and the Ukrainian National Association of Savings and Credit Unions, both of which are WOCCU member organizations. The grants are being channeled through the two national associations and on to their member credit unions.
Under martial law, military personnel in Ukraine are exempt from paying interest on their loans, which limits the ability of credit unions to provide new lending. The Worldwide Foundations Servicemen Interest Compensation Program reimburses credit unions on that lost interest, which helps them continue to lend to more people in wartime. Forty-two associated credit unions applied for the program and have received compensation totaling $170,000.
With growing inflation and an economic recession enveloping the country, credit unions also find it harder to stay fully operational and serve their members as they did before the war. To support them, WFCU spent a total of $130,000 under its Covering Operational Expenses Program to compensate 75 credit unions for a portion of their operating expenses.
Russia’s shelling of Ukraine’s critical infrastructure and power grid has resulted in blackouts across the country, depriving credit unions of the electricity needed to maintain daily operations. To address this challenge, WFCU’s Alternative Power Sources Program co-financed the purchase of alternative energy sources for credit unions. This enables credit union staff to serve their members even during power outages. A total of 91 credit unions each received $600 to put toward the purchase of power generators, power stations or power banks.
Grant dollars from the three new programs went to nearly 100 credit unions, which comprise more than two-thirds of Ukraine’s credit union market. The assistance is critical as credit unions continue to support their communities during nearly a year of ongoing war in Ukraine.
To date, WFCU has disbursed more than $600,000 from its Ukrainian Credit Union Displacement Fund to assist credit unions, their members and communities that are struggling during wartime.
We continue to be overwhelmed by the support of the international credit union community, which has now donated nearly $2 million to the Displacement Fund in less than one year. We will keep looking for ways to provide aid to credit unions during the war, while keeping money on hand for the eventual restoration and rebuilding of Ukraine’s credit union system,” said Mike Reuter, WFCU executive director.