FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Veronica LaDuke
MADISON, WI – The Credit Union Empowerment and Strengthening (CUES) Philippines Project has been selected to receive the Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Outstanding Organization/Program from the National Credit Union Foundation. The project is being honored for its success as an innovative effort to provide affordable financial services to people, especially women, in some of the poorest areas of the Philippines.
"The possibilities for the CUES Philippines Project are huge," says John Annalaro, president and CEO of the Washington Credit Union League & Affiliates. "It is creating a stronger credit union system and equally, a stronger sovereign national financial system that can potentially better support millions of under-banked individuals in the Western Pacific region."
Based in Davao City, on the island of Mindanao, the CUES Philippines Project is a 60-month program of the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Its purpose is to provide access to financial services to marginalized sectors of the Philippine population, focusing on southern Mindanao. The project utilizes Model Credit Union Building (MCUB) methodology and the P.E.A.R.L.S (Protection, Effective financial structure, Asset quality, Rates of return, Liquidity, and Signs of growth) evaluation and monitoring system.
Since the program’s inception in 1998, it has grown to include over nineteen credit unions, with several more interested in joining. In addition, the eleven original partner credit unions have:
- Reduced delinquency from a consolidated 77% to 11.9%;
- Increased savings by a consolidated 146%;
- Increased their capital from a consolidated 16.89% to +6.22%; and
- Increased membership from 36,433 to 94,557.
Another component of the project is called "Savings and Credit With Education" (SCWE). SCWE is a micro-finance program designed specifically to meet the needs of the very poor rural women in the communities of the credit unions. Along with saving and lending activities, pre-trained field agents provide education on topics like breast-feeding, diarrhea control, and nutrition. For some of these women, this is the first access to credit and educational information they have ever received. Over 20,000 women are members of SCWE groups.
"The CUES Philippines Project has been committed to the true development principle of transferring knowledge and then stepping back and letting the people to the work," says Patricia Gates, president and CEO of MetroPacific Community Credit Union in Seattle, Washington. "They have been so successful because they inspired the people within the credit unions to want more, do more, and be more than they ever thought possible."
The awards will be presented at the 14th Annual Herb Wegner Memorial Awards Dinner Sunday, February 24, 2002, at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. For more information or to obtain tickets, contact Kris Hoffman, Donor & Public Relations Specialist, at 608-231-4397 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Established in 1980, NCUF is the U.S. credit union movement's primary charitable and fundraising organization for global credit union development. The Foundation has given more than $8.4 million in grants, in support of its mission to promote consumer financial independence through credit unions. Visit the Foundation's web site at www.cuna.org/ncuf.html.