• Grow Your Co-op Members’ Business

    Leni San Roque, Chief Executive of the Association of Asian Confederation of Credit Unions (ACCU), tells participants at the recent Co-op Leaders’ Congress in Iloilo City how and why co-ops should upgrade and make an impact in the communities, in Read More
  • Use Tech or Be Left Out

    We must know what is going on outside our co-ops. While we are optimistic about the digitalization of the economy, the fast pace of technological advancement must still undergo government regulation.  Mertz Tangonan shows us a bird’s eye view of Read More
  • COOP-NATCCO Wins One Seat In Congress

    COOP-NATCCO Partylist has announced that it has won one seat in Congress in the May 13 elections.   In a very impressive display of solidarity, cooperative members, leaders, staff, management and stakeholders voted COOP-NATCCO Partylist (CNPL) in the May 2019 Read More
  • Great Potential for Co-ops in e-Payments

    Jing Gusto, consultant of World Council of Credit Unions, presented before the NATCCO Coop Leaders’ Congress in Iloilo City last April the results of a study that shows the readiness of co-ops and their members for e-payments.     I think Read More
  • Help your Members be Entrepreneurs thru e-commerce

    Do your co-op members have products that need marketing?  Your co-op could be the best aggregator.  Online shopping platform Lazada's Petrus Carbonel shows how your co-op can facilitate entrepreneurship among your members.   In the digital economy, co-ops will have Read More
  • Positioning Co-ops in a Digital Economy

    Trade & Industry Undersecretary  for Competitiveness & Innovation Rafaelita Aldaba shared with the NATCCO Leaders’ Congress that it is important for co-ops  to understand how you can position cooperatives in the new digital economy, take advantage of the opportunities and Read More
  • Co-ops Must Invest in the Youth

      15-year-old co-op leader, Alessandra Daquila or Barbaza Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Antique Province spoke before 800 delegates on the opening day of the 17th Co-op Leaders Congress in Iloilo City, and gave them her mind on what co-ops should do Read More
  • Co-ops ready for Digital Economy

    ILOILO CITY – Co-ops must, can, and will definitely go Digital!   More than 700 leaders from 189 cooperatives converged last April 26-28 at the Grand Xing Imperial Hotel for the 17TH Co-op Leaders’ Congress and 42nd General Assembly.  They Read More
  • Power Speakers to Inspire and Impart at Leaders’ Congress

    A power list of speakers await delegates to the 17th NATCCO Co-op Leaders’ Congress in Iloilo City on April 26-28.  Their topics are in line with the theme for the event: “4.0 Positioning Cooperatives in a Digital Economy.”  The topics Read More
  • Supreme Court Ups Small Claims from 300k to 400k Starting April

    The Supreme Court increased the limit of small claims cases filed before the Metropolitan Trial Courts from P300,000.00 to P400,000.00, beginning  April 1, 2019.     Upon the recommendation of the Office of the Court Administrator to Associate Justice Diosdado M. Read More
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Credit Union Apex Endorses Kaya Payment Platform

 
 
Credit unions empower and improve communities. According to the ICA, the cooperative identity is “based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.” Their focus on sustainability and local needs prove they are necessary entities in our world. Just looking back on a few international Credit Union Day logos: “Dreams thrive here”, “People helping people”, and “Your money, your choice”, all inspire.
 
Planning with or for the communities guarantees sustainability. This is what credit union and financial cooperative movement excels in. We mobilize local resources and empower community members, leading to a sustainable economy. This movement reaches more than 232 million people.  If we play our cards right, we can create a global community interconnected through our financial institutions and communities. Interconnection will create a larger voice for credit unions worldwide.
 
I am excited that WE are creating a more interconnected community through your institutions, that impacts your finances, operations, staff, and, most importantly, your members. 
 
Technology is an unstoppable force we can’t ignore. It is transforming everything. Because of technology, I can connect to the Wi-Fi, get on Whatsapp, and call my mom in New York, for free. With wireless internet, I don’t need a calling card. 
 
Although technology offers these conveniences, like all good things, there are a lot of hurdles to overcome. 
Technology can be confusing: There are so many options to choose from – many different technology firms to sort through and vet, many different types of software to pick. 
Technology is expensive especially for financial institutions. 
Technology can be insecure.  You must make sure all the data you store are secure from hackers.
Digital literacy: It’s hard to adopt anything if your staff and members don’t know how to use it.
 
So, why go through this? 
 
Your Bangko Sentral wants 20% of all transactions to become digital.
 
Digital payments enable members and cooperatives to:
Save money and time
Minimize fraud and manage risk
Gain data on your members to help design appropriate services and make management decisions
Learn more from each other & more from experts around the world
Expand points of services and provide a broader array of services
Gain efficiency by sharing investment in infrastructure
 
Through a smart phone, computer, ATM, and other points of service your members can perform perform digital transactions like mobile money, digital payments, and bill payments. They can transact without having to ride the habal-habal or banca to town.
 
Your members can pay their electric bill through the Kaya platform rather than in person. Davao Light is a biller in the Kaya Payment Platform, that allows co-op members to perform transactions thru their smart phone. 
 
Services can be digitalized. You can offer savings and loan products over the phone and Internet.
 
For instance, the Capitol Credit Union in the US designed a digital loan that can be repaid through a mobile application, called Kasasa. It allows borrowers to manage their debt by showing them the status of their loan in seconds. Borrowers can also see the impact of payment changes before they make them, providing them more control and better decisions.
 
AgriAnalytica software in Ukraine helps farmers create a business-plan and a set of documents necessary for obtaining credit, such as determining planned production costs and revenue, profitability, predict monthly cash flow, analyze planned and effective production efficiency, compared to those of similar companies. This software allows loan officers to remotely underwrite agricultural loans for members. 
 
In Brazil, the national association, SICREDI, has segmented the entire country through agricultural value chains. Based on climate and other factors based on location of the farmers, SICREDI helps the member credit unions deliver specific value chain products to their members. 
 
WOCCU supported mobile money in Haiti. When they realized their adoption rates were low, they started offering digital literacy training through their agent network. They go to the people, directly, to provide training. The agents also earn commission from transactions and client signup.
 
Technology allows you to access data on your members. Through data mining and analysis, you can segment your members by geography, gender, age, and even vocation; helping to see trends and gaps. This helps you develop better products and services, request more services from your national association, manage risk, and even prevent fraud. 
 
Savvymoney, in the US, allows credit union members to analyze their own information to make decisions regarding their finances. 
The Guatemalan FENACOAC developed an agricultural lending toolkit. The association houses an agricultural lending unit, which includes expertise in value chain market analysis, partnership development to create relationships with potential buyers for the farmers, agronomy, and product development. Because they have data on their members, the national associations are better able to provide the market information needed for the members and member credit unions. 
 
Loans increased 8 percent in 2017. Late payments have declined to only 0.63 percent, loan default dropped by more than half, even as the total loan portfolio increased. 
 
In Kenya, 7 SACCOs have used the toolkit and have issued 314 loans valued at more than 10,000,000 Kenyan Shillings as of December 2017.
 
In the US, CO-OP Financial Services is developing Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning to be used on behalf of its CU clients, enabling the company to provide alert and case management capabilities for fraud and risk services. The CEO of the CU states, “As a credit union cooperative, we have the size and the endpoints, as well as tremendous leverage with different partnerships that make it easier for us and our members to use this technology. For smaller institutions, it’s about finding the right problems we know are worth solving for, and identifying those use cases to build solutions for first.”
 
How can you get to that point?
 
Share costs, resources, and learnings thru your NATCCO federation. This lowers cost and expands your reach. Luckily, the credit union ethos already believes in the cooperative and sharing economy. 
 
Most recently, WOCCU translated, customized, and installed MIS software at all co-ops in Afghanistan, Colombia, and Mexico, which enabled them to handle transactions and accounting electronically, facilitate reporting, reduce the human resource burden, and strengthen off-site monitoring of financial performance and operations. Technology-driven system networks enable financial institutions to pool resources, allowing them access to expensive technologies they would normally be unable to afford.
 
You must share ATM networks, have one Digital payment platform, and standardize Core banking systems/ MIS.
 
Use newer technologies like Blockchain, Machine Learning, and Biometrics.
 
The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) in the US is investing in a service bureau or CU Service Organization (CUSO) to utilize blockchain technology to create digital identities for their members. Ideally, this technology will create an international platform for sharing transactions. This means each member will have a digital identity securely stored in blockchain. Every time the member conducts a transaction, their transaction is verified through the blockchain ledger technology. This information will also be securely shared throughout the CUNA network.
 
Your very own Kaya Payment Platform actually has the ability to integrate these types of technology and software. So in the future, through Kaya, you could be offering chatbot services to your members and using AI to analyze your data.
 
The World Bank and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are interested in seeing how Kaya works. Last November, the IFC invited Ms. Leni San Roque (ACCU CEO) to Washington, DC, to present the payments platform to gender and finance experts at the IFC. Based on her presentation, the IFC is currently funding WOCCU and ACCU to conduct research on how Kaya and credit unions can empower women entrepreneurs, especially through business development centers. So after the conference, Leni and I will be traveling to a credit union that has joined Kaya and is offering business development support to women microentrepreneurs.
How do we actually implement this?
 
As in the US, Colombia, and Kenya, NATCCO and Philippine Federation of Credit Cooperatives (PFCCO) have developed a payments platform that also has the option of core banking software that co-op members can adopt. However, Kaya is unique from the other systems. The other systems require staff that are fluent in API, cyber security, and backend engineering, ensuring that all transactions are safe and sound, while running efficiently. Kaya removes the headache and offers a fully-packaged software as a service. 
 
So, the first step is to join the Platform.
 
The second step is to encourage your members to use it. The more members that use it, the cheaper the transaction costs become, which can also equate to higher profits. 
 
The investment in training is big, but can lead to great things for your members. It can create trust and higher levels of interaction between you and your members. It will create convenient transactions for your members. And can generate additional revenue for your credit union to invest in other services for your members and community.
 
This is the abridged version of the presentation of Ms. Gulbahar Okuyan, Business Development Manager of the World Council of Credit Unions. WOCCU strives to be the global apex organization of the credit union movement and is a trade association for financial cooperatives. Ms. Okuyan  designs and gets new projects that relate to WOCCU’s mission to improve lives through financial cooperatives and expand financial inclusion worldwide through the global credit union community.
 

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