MADISON, Wis. (1/27/11)--World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) has released a Web-based version of PEARLS, its relational financial database designed to monitor financial trends and help credit unions improve their performance. The program, first developed in the 1980s, has been streamlined for easier access through a Web-based version available as a benefit of membership to WOCCU member organizations. PEARLS is an acronym for Protection, Effective financial structure, Asset quality, Rates of return and costs, Liquidity and Signs of growth. The system is used by thousands of credit unions worldwide. Designed to complement but not replace existing accounting and monitoring programs, PEARLS produces reports, trend information, comparisons and rankings to help identify financial weaknesses and assist in the development of improvement strategies, pricing and strategic and businesses planning. “The new version of PEARLS represents technological delivery improvements without compromising the program’s solid financial standards,” said Dave Grace, WOCCU senior vice president of association services. “The financial ratios that WOCCU defines as standards of excellence that have given the program a role in statutory oversight in some countries remain the same.” The new version of PEARLS, under development for three years, replicates the software-driven program used in developed and developing countries. Credit union regulators in countries such as Ireland, Peru and Poland follow aspects of PEARLS when evaluating credit union performance. The current interface, which runs on virtually any Internet browser, is more easily accessible to WOCCU’s global audience. WOCCU this week is holding a series of free webinars for it member organizations covering basic aspects of PEARLS through train-the-trainer sessions in English, Spanish and Russian. Those organizations will then have license to share the information with member credit unions in their countries. Each webinar is being recorded and will be available for later viewing online. After the webinars, participants will receive PowerPoint presentations and other materials, allowing them to conduct their own training. WOCCU retains all ownership rights to PEARLS and will issue updates to the system as needed. A personal computer with Internet access and audio and PowerPoint capabilities is necessary to participate in the webinars.