Things are tough right now. The devastating wildfires in Maui. Communities left in ruins by Idalia and Franklin. Political tensions, at home and abroad.
It’s at times like this that credit unions shine. Each and every credit union was born out of resiliency to struggle. From the Piedmont Credit Union of Landis to the Japanese American Community Credit Union and every other credit union.
Our system is defined by people coming together in cooperation to deliver a brighter financial future. We’ve seen what can happen when just a few people come together. Now imagine what we could accomplish as a global cooperative movement?
Inequity is all around
Consider the myriad of ways the financial world treats people differently.
In many countries, women still struggle to access credit—the International Monetary Fund reports that women’s access to finance worldwide is “disproportionately low.” It was only in 2021 that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau helped make it illegal for lenders to discriminate against a consumer applying for credit on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
And people of color remain more likely to be unbanked or underbanked in a financial ecosystem that remains systemically racist.
There’s still much we need to do, and the Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions (WFCU) is leading the charge—with your support.
Consider the Global Women’s Leadership Network or GWLN. It’s giving women the opportunity and resources to make a measurable difference in the lives of their fellow GWLN members, their credit union members and the people of their communities. It is a critical tool to improving gender representation, inclusion and consideration across our movement—and when we empower women, we don’t just improve their lives, we improve the lives of everyone around them.
Supporting the next generation of leaders
We’re also building long-term resilience through our WYCUP global network—the financial cooperatives’ largest network of young professionals and their advocates. Membership is open to anyone, from credit union newbies to seasoned professionals. What links us all? A sense of empathy, a commitment to innovation and a desire to build better financial cooperatives.
Each year WYCUP holds a youth summit and sponsors scholarships making it possible for young credit leaders around the world to participate in their community. I can say without reservation that the future of cooperative finance is resilient because of this group. These young leaders are smart, committed and passionate. I have no doubt they’ll continue to find new and better ways to build the tools and support people around the world need to thrive financially.
How can you help build resilience?
I have three suggestions.
- At the local level, look for ways to connect with your members and your community. Strive to understand what’s keeping them from being financially resilient and work to develop products and programs that make a difference.
- Join GWLN and WYCUP—we’re doing amazing things and need and want your help!
- Support WFCU’s Members Helping Members fundraising campaign. Your support makes programs like GWLN and WYCUP possible. Plus, your donation automatically enters you for a chance to win some amazing prizes, including GWLN membership and a scholarship to attend international WYCUP events. Talk about a virtuous circle!
Resilience, in the face of adversity, spurred the credit union movement. With your support, WFCU can sustain that resilience worldwide.