WOCCU pursues digital financial inclusion for 50 million-plus people across Asia


New initiative to deploy interoperable payments
platforms connecting credit unions

 
 

MADISON, Wis. — Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions, the social impact affiliate of the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) dedicated to financial inclusion, has launched a project to design interoperable, open-loop, low-cost, real-time payment platforms for its global network of credit unions across Asia, exploring the use of the Mojaloop open-source platform.

WOCCU is paving the way to extend digital financial inclusion, along with its regional partner, the Association of Asian Confederation of Credit Unions, which reaches 50 million-plus members across Asia, the Credit Union Central of Indonesia and two other membership associations in the Philippines—the National Confederation of Cooperatives and the Philippines Federation of Credit Cooperatives.

This pioneering work builds on WOCCU’s wider digitization goals and the mission of its soon-to-launch Digital Transformation Lab. Expanding digital access to financial services and automating internal processes enables credit unions to better serve their existing members and to expand the reach of financial services.

“Many economically disadvantaged populations still lack access to safe and affordable financial services, and digital technologies hold the promise to reach more lower income members cost-effectively. Deploying an open source and shared platform to service existing and new credit union members aligns with our financial inclusion mission, supporting the global financial system to operate in a more collaborative, transparent and inclusive manner,” said WOCCU President and CEO Brian Branch.



 



The first twelve months will focus on research and planning to design and test digital payments platform technologies. With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this effort will leverage the foundation’s Level One design principles, starting in the Philippines and in Indonesia. The next phase anticipated in late 2019 will launch and scale regionally, developing a blueprint for global expansion.

WOCCU will leverage the expertise of leading digital financial platform provider ModusBox, Inc., who will focus on technical configuration and building a live demonstration platform based on the open source software—Mojaloop. This open source software has been created by leading financial technology companies with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as a reference implementation of a commercially viable real-time payments platform. Another partner, Paysys Global LLC, will oversee the business, regulatory and operational aspects. The learnings from these initial country-level rollouts in Indonesia and in the Philippines will be used to create a regional payment network WOCCU would roll out across Asia, ultimately reaching more than 260 million credit union members worldwide. With an initial focus on activating national payment use cases, WOCCU’s partners also see high demand for cross-border payments in corridors between the US and Asia.