Cameroon Cooperative Union Surpasses Challenges
Comprising of 212 credit unions, and a total membership of 336,187 people and US$240 million in assets, the Cameroon Cooperative Credit Union League (CamCCUL) is proud of an impeccable history of triumph in the Central African country of Cameroon.
The history is one of amazing performance, perfect adherence to the philosophy and rules of credit union and total commitment to providing perfect service to customers each of which has been behind the growth of this small movement.
“Our smallest credit union has US$4,000 in assets, and our largest has US$34 million,” said Praxedes Banseka, a CamCCUL field supervisor, on a recent visit to World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) headquarters. “We don’t care how much money a credit union has, as long as it’s serving its members well.”
CamCCUL was set imagine in 1968 and has synergized with WOCCU in the 1980s and 1990s to put in place numerous initiatives financed by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
The programs offer technical support to CamCCUL that it turn fuels its institutional and management growth, set up a central liquidity facility, and put in place a basic farmer production credit program, spread the concept of credit unions to new areas and deployed the first computerized systems to Cameroon’s movement.
WOCCU’s programs in Cameroon finished in 1994, and CamCCUL became a direct WOCCU member in 2007.
“The Cameroonian credit union system represents one of the great success stories in WOCCU’s 40 years,” said David Grace, WOCCU’s senior vice president of association services. “Based on long-term and intensive development programs in the 1980s and early ’90s, a strong foundation was established.
We’ve seen this in many other countries, and that positions credit unions for strong membership growth in subsequent years.” Cameroon’s credit union movement has been growing with a lot of impetus, starting from 78,000 credit union members initially in 1993 increasing to more than four times the membership by 2010.
Cameroon has in fact hosted some of the world’s most extravagant International Credit Union Day celebrations, and there have been occasions where more than 5,000 people came into the streets of the cities with more than thousand onlookers.
There have also been radio broadcasts and TV ads, cell phone programs and shared branching services which have contributed to a great extent in popularizing the concept and have been also responsible for its grand success.
Cameroon’s credit unions also go through innumerable challenges, including stiff competition from banks and informal lending groups. While 95% of the credit unions that are computerized employs the same platform that CamCCUL operates from, they also have smaller sized credit unions who do not have access to computers.
“We don’t have the equipment or the infrastructure in place to provide Internet access in many areas,” Banseka said.
Banseka, who has taken up the task of growing the concept form one of the founders of the Cameroon movement founder has been in the field fro over 13 years now, and is currently taking a course in the United States as part of the U.S. Department of State’s prestigious Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program.
The 10-month program is tailored to expose future leaders to the culture of foreign countries and familiarize them with positive feedback from the United States. During this time she has also finished an internship at Gabriels Community Credit Union in Lansing, Mich., and also proposes to take another internship in Minneapolis before coming back to Cameroon.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time in the U.S.,” Banseka said. “No matter where you go when you are with fellow credit union colleagues you are with family, your credit union family.”Pin It