MADISON, Wis. (7/22/14)--By the end of 2013, nearly 57,000 credit unions served about 208 million members across 103 different countries worldwide, according to numbers released by the World Council of Credit Unions this week in its 2013 Statistical Report.
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The report tracks membership and financial data for credit unions and financial cooperatives throughout the world.
The largest change from 2012 was the jump in membership growth, which climbed by more than 7 million members. The regions that posted the strongest growth in membership were Asia, Latin America and Europe.
Worldwide assets in 2013 came in at $1.7 trillion, according to the report, with savings topping $1.4 trillion, loans $1.1 trillion and reserves $171 billion.
"Large, small, emerging and mature systems, regardless of their differences, all reported the same top challenges: increased regulatory burden, payments innovation, young adult membership growth and small credit union sustainability," wrote World Council President/CEO Brian Branch and Chair Grzegorz Bierecki in their annual report.
In response, World Council continued its work building a global community full of opportunities to share effective strategies and lessons that tackle these global challenges, the pair wrote.
Those efforts included:
For regulatory burden, helping defend credit unions in front of international standard-setting bodies;
For payment innovations, assisting credit unions incorporate shared-mobile technology platforms;
For young membership growth, conducting workshops, webinars and educational sessions to develop and share best practices for credit unions to effectively reach younger generations; and
For small credit union sustainability, helping develop collaborative solutions for credit unions such as procuring shared back-office systems and payments platforms.
The Credit Union National Association is preparing to welcome the 100 millionth U.S. credit union membership this summer. In fact, credit union members can join in the spirit of fun and show "what 100 million looks like" by sending selfies of themselves and corresponding credit union stories to www.americascreditunions.org
, as part of a campaign to highlight the industry milestone. (See the resource link.)