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Mexico government funds expansion of WOCCU rural CU program
Click to view larger image Doroteo Hernandez is president of a 100-person semilla cooperativa group, a World Council of Credit Unions rural credit union program, through Caja Yanga, a credit union in Huatusco, Veracruz in Mexico. Hernandez sought credit union services because lenders had charged exorbitant interest rates on loans. (Photos provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
MADISON, Wis. (2/1/08)--A Mexican government agency has provided funding for a project that will open new credit union branches and points of service in rural Mexican communities across 16 states. The Rural Microfinance Technical Assistance Project--funded by the Mexican Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fishing and Food (SAGARPA)--is an expansion of two recent World Council of Credit Union (WOCCU) programs that established 48 rural credit union branches and attracted 83,000 members in Veracruz and Michoacan.

Click to view larger image A Caja Popular Mexicana field officer in Coatepec, Veracruz, prepares to visit a semilla cooperativa group in an outlying village.
“Neither the size of the state, difficulty of access to marginalized areas nor diverse credit union needs have been obstacles for WOCCU’s technical team,” said Gabriela Zapata Alvarez, SAGARPA director of financial organization strengthening. WOCCU will employ its semilla cooperativa, or cooperative seed, to extend rural outreach through 72 credit unions. Semilla cooperativa delivery approach provides financial services where field officers bring credit union products to outlying villages. About 32% of Mexico’s economically active population has access to financial services, compared with 80% in developed countries. In Mexico’s rural areas, 5% have access to services. The underserved use other lending sources that often charge high interest rates. WOCCU received the largest amount of the SAGARPA’s grants to four organizations.
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