In Colombia, World Council of Credit Unions is helping credit unions extend financial services to individuals that have been left behind by the financial sector. World Council is bringing microcredit and microsavings services to 100,000 unbanked individuals, tailoring products to rural, urban and peri-urban communities across the country.
With World Council's technical assistance, Colombia's credit unions are developing strategies to bring low-income and rural segments of the population into the formal financial sector. By designing and implementing financial products catered to the diverse needs of communities throughout the country, World Council is creating a sustainable model for the expansion of Colombia's credit union network. This market-driven approach to credit union expansion will extend an array of microcredit and microsavings products to micro- and small business owners, entrepreneurs, farmers and families.
In rural regions, World Council is adapting its Semilla Cooperativa [cooperative seed] model of microsavings. This model challenges the convention of brick-and-mortar credit unions by sending credit union field officers into neighboring communities to provide services directly to members. Semilla Cooperativa allows the credit union to come to the member. It overcomes the time and cost barriers that traveling to the nearest credit union may pose to members. With innovative mobile technology, credit union representatives can process financial transactions on the spot, bringing services to regions that would not otherwise support a brick-and-mortar point of service.
World Council is working in partnership with 12 Colombian credit unions to:
- Implement a savings-based outreach methodology using mobile technology
- Increase credit union membership among rural and low-income communities
- Develop new demand-driven microcredit and microsavings products and use mobile technology to expand the credit union network.