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CUs launch Perus first member-owned ATMs
AYACUCHO, Peru (3/4/10)--Santa Maria Magdalena CU celebrated the launch of its first ATMs last week in Ayacucho, Peru. The launch was a landmark for the $50 million asset credit union, which is piloting ATMs for expansion to credit unions throughout the country, said the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU).
Click to view larger image Celebrating Peru’s first credit union-owned ATMs at Santa Maria Magdalena credit union in Ayacucho were, from left: James Chira, Kuskanet general manager; Miguel Zevallos, FENACREP board president; Mark Cifuentes, World Council of Credit Unions vice president of technical services; and Roque Montero, Santa Maria Magdalena board president. (Photo provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
“The ATM launch puts Peru’s credit unions on par with other financial institutions in a race to the forefront,” said Mark Cifuentes, WOCCU vice president of technical services. “The credit union’s goal has always been to offer members the same services bank clients receive. The ATMs help bring them the financial dignity all people deserve.” Santa Maria Magdalena’s ATMs mark the next step forward for Peru’s first credit union-owned network, launched in October 2008 as “Kuskanet.” Kuska means “together,” Kuskanet is a credit union services group wholly owned by WOCCU; Federacion Nacional de Cooperativas de Ahorro y Credito del Peru (FENACREP), Peru’s national credit union association and a WOCCU member; and mostly rural credit unions. “Working closely with FENACREP, WOCCU’s program in Peru laid the foundation for the advancements we celebrated in Ayacucho last week,” added Brian Branch, WOCCU executive vice president and chief operating officer. “Farmers, small business owners and people living in rural areas are now experiencing financial access as they thought only bank clients could.” Kuskanet can give credit unions the tools necessary to offer the same financial services as banks at more affordable rates. When Kuskanet launched, no credit unions in the country offered ATM or debit card services. Very few credit unions provided members the opportunity to perform inter-branch transactions, which were possible only through credit union-to-credit union agreements. Shared supply and demand among network members has enabled small credit unions to offer new products and services, WOCCU said. Santa Maria Magdalena’s ATMs will serve 60,000 members in largely rural areas, and members in urban centers near Lima. Kuskanet chose Santa Maria Madgalena to pilot the ATMs because of its commitment to using new technology to expand product and service offerings to members. Kuskanet offers ATMs, point-of-sale (POS) devices and shared branching services to its 20 member credit unions. There are three credit union-owned ATMs in operation--in Santa Maria Magdalena’s main office, one in a branch office and a third at a credit union in Tarapoto. On Saturday, Kuskanet will celebrate ATM launches in Rioja province, an area high in poverty between the Amazon rainforest and the Andes Mountains. The network plans to install 45 credit union-owned ATMs and 200 POS devices throughout Peru by the end of 2010. Kuskanet grew out of WOCCU’s first technical assistance program in Peru, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
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