MADISON, Wis. (2/12/08)--World Council of Credit Unions’ (WOCCU) International Remittance Network (IRnet) last year surpassed $2 billion in total remittance transactions since its inception in 2001. It also recently expanded its program to Peru by adding 11 credit unions with 31 points of service in the country. With the addition of Peru, credit unions in 10 countries now distribute remittances with IRnet. More than 1.5 million transactions in 2007 carried $578 million across borders, bringing the total number of transactions performed through IRnet to more than five million. There were 128 U.S. credit unions offering Vigo money transfers through WOCCU’s program at year-end 2007. “Three billion dollars in remittances were sent to Peru last year,” said Manuel Rabines, second vice chairman of WOCCU and general manager of Federacion Nacional de Cooperativas de Ahorro y Credito del Peru (FENACREP). “Offering remittances through credit unions is a way to attract new members and expand product development. “For example, Peruvians living here and abroad want to purchase land for building homes and need affordable ways to finance their children’s education. They can do this with access to remittance-linked products through credit unions,” he added. WOCCU has formed strategic alliances with Vigo, MoneyGram and Coinstar--all established money transfer organizations--so credit unions can offer members and non-members affordable options for sending and receiving remittances via IRnet. Consumers can perform not only credit union-to-credit union transactions, but also can send to or from retail outlets offering remittances through the same money transfer organization. The security, convenience and affordability of IRnet is an attractive way to introduce the unbanked to credit unions around the world and add value to member service, especially when credit unions link their products to incoming remittances, said WOCCU. For a list of credit unions and networks participating in the IRnet program, use the link.