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Enabling Digital Payments,
a Crucial Response to Pandemic for
Credit Unions
On August 6, ACCU CEO Ms. Elenita V. San Roque attended the online training organized by SPTF and M-CRIL. The session was aimed to enable MFIs senior management personnel to acquire necessary knowledge and capacities to and enable digital payments for their customers. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen the MFI sector suffer the full force from the slowdown in economic activity and lockdowns resulting in reduced cashflows and difficulty in conducting normal operations making this a ’fundamental threat’ for the sector.

But now as the crisis management approach moves from complete lockdowns to a gradual re-opening it is imperative that MFIs prepare for this new normal. A critical part in this process will be enabling digital payments (disbursements and collections). This will help conduct business operations while maintaining social distancing and cashless operations.

SPTF and M-CRIL have come together to help organize a focused orientation session to facilitate MFIs in this process of enabling low-cost, efficient and suitable digital payments.
Sister Society Chapters
Continue to Spread in Asia
More than 80 women leaders and He for She leaders joined the virtual launch of new sister society chapters in Japan, Indonesia, Nepal, India, the Philippines, and Thailand in a virtual launching on August 14.
 
GWLN Program Director of WOCCU Lena Giakoumopoulus shared that there are 120 sister society chapters in 27 countries. She pointed out that women are more vulnerable to COVID 19 related economic effects because of existing gender inequalities. 
 
SICREDI’s topnotch woman leader Gisele Gomes joined live from Brazil with her inspiring message for the men and women in Asia. SICREDI is the credit union movement in Brazil with more than 4.6 million members from 110 credit unions, served by 1,900 branches across 27 states. It’s SICREDI’s vision to establish sister society chapters in every credit union to connect them globally for professional development and motivation to create a difference. 
 
The General Manager of the Most Holy Rosary MPC Joselita Cardona how her coop reached out to the least, the lost and the last in the communities they serve. Cardona is one of the 2020 GWLN scholarship recipients.   
 
Tagum Coop Chair Rosalina Argent, an advocate of financial literacy encouraged attendees to help their members become financially resilient so that they will not find themselves in serious financial trouble in times of emergency. Cooperatives must help members practice ‘self-help’ as she believes it will help them build wealth and ultimately achieve financial independence.  
 
ACCU envisions that Sister Society serves as a platform in raising the bar of commitment of women leaders in creating impact and reaching out low income women members through business development services. 
HRD Workshop to Build
Business Resiliency for Credit Unions
ACCU prepared a Guide to Credit Unions: Business Continuity Plan Template assigned as Business Solution no. 29 to accelerate the deployment of a plan to mitigate risks posed by the ongoing pandemic. 

The cooperative financial institutions would rely on the resilience of people – their members, staff and communities, for their own resilience.  Thus, CU business continuity plan will not only concentrate only on the organization recovery and operation plan but also extend its strategy in relation to improve the physical and financial heath of people who are core pillars of the cooperative.  

On August 18-20 and 31, 2020, 26 attendees from Nepal, Indonesia and the Philippines have successfully completed the program. At the end of the training, at least 20 BCPs were completed by participants; it is either for their credit union or a credit union they assisted. “The BCPs are prepared based on actual situation and can be operationalized upon approval of the board,” suggested ACCU CEO. The participants completed the BCPs with the involvement of the credit unions leaders and management. 

The template provided a framework that enables credit unions to identify risks and responses on the areas of risk around members, staff and institution. The tool also provides member interview tool and sample policy templates to support the new normal operation of the credit unions. 

The CEO of Australian Mutual Banks and Director of Australian Mutuals Foundation was the keynote speaker on August 18.
BCP as Requirement for
ACCESS Accreditation in 2020
A special workshop on Business Continuity Plan was organized for the ACCESS credit unions in Nepal on August 21-23, 2020.  
ACCU recognizes that the lockdowns affected businesses of members. It has tremendously disrupted credit union business because members’ ability to pay has been affected. In response to the growing concern on increased delinquency, ACCU made the BCP as a requirement for credit unions seeking for accreditation.     
The program was attended by 56 leaders and managers from 28 Nepal SACCOS and one from SANASA Sri Lanka. 

For 2020 ACCESS accreditation, credit unions need to identify the risks, measure its impacts and develop an action plan to mitigate the risks.  The risk mitigation measures will be used by the ACCESS auditors to reach an objective judgment on the safety, soundness, and excellence of service of the credit unions.
Submitting the BCP is a requirement for ACCESS accreditation and helping those SACCOS in response to COVID-19 highlighting the following risks:

 
  • Member’s Ability to Pay:  The Risk Register should be supported by a scenario analysis on the number of members and amount of loans with a probability of going delinquent because of the "ability to pay" of the members have been impacted due to COVID 19. We are referring to members who lose their source of income like the daily wage earners and those whose businesses were stopped due to the lockdown.  The attached is a suggested template to prepare a loan Portfolio Risk assessment.
  • Institutional Capital: Based on the Portfolio Risk assessment projection, the credit union need to project the impact to the Net Institutional Capital should standard provisioning is applied. 
  • Ability to meet liquidity requirements: a liquidity assessment should be prepared at least for the next six months.
Strategic Leadership Session: Advancing Leadership Impact
by Knowing the WHY
The Chair of the Global Women Leadership Network (GWLN) Susan Mitchell had a powerful message to more than 140 women and men who joined the Strategic Session on August 26, 2020 via Zoom. She explained how each one of us can advance our leadership impact by knowing the WHY?

Susan emphasized that GWLN is a powerful tool, it’s a prestigious Organization. “We need to demonstrate the power of a CU network and engage with a message that builds awareness of need while focusing on solutions. Make your time count!”  She shared how we can create impact as follows:  

•  ACCU goal: The Why: Reaching the youth and women to ________________!
•  Start Saving. Educate. Create jobs? Diversity, Equity, Inclusion.
•  Let’s determine the # of women within the region.
•  How many children can they reach?
•  Begin to offer ACCU solutions. Educational programs. Business Development Centers.
•  Engage your CEO / your Board to be inclusive and garner their support.
•  Commit nationally.
•  Communicate internationally.
•  Local goal: The Why: In (Name of country) we want to reach youth and women to __________!
•  Personal goal:  The Why: I want to volunteer my time to reach youth and women within the industry, within my community, within my credit union to advance my leadership impact.

The session ended with messages of hope they displayed at the group photo. ACCU cannot thank you enough for your participation for this powerful and inspiring session. Our thanks go to GWLN Chair Susan Mitchell, WOCCU President and CEO Brian Branch, SerTech CEO Shana Richardson, sisters from the US, and all attendees in Asia. 

We together can make a difference. We encourage you to be engaged. ACCU is committed to provide you with necessary tools to advance your impacts to your members and communities. 
BOL Recognizes PEARLS as
Potential Tool for SCUs Supervision
In collaboration with the Co-operative federation for German Co-operatives, Deutscher Genossenschafts- und Raiffeisenverband, ACCU facilitated the virtual technical training on PEARLS monitoring system for capacity building and improving monitoring skills for the staffs of Bank of Lao PDR (BOL).

The training was organized during August 24 - 27, 2020 with 27 division managers and officers of Financial Institution Supervision Department of BOL. 

During the training, ACCU emphasized the necessity of intensive monitoring system in SCU operation to ensure its safety and soundness. BOL was urged to take extra effort in providing detailed operational guidelines and regulatory framework in ensuring that SCUs in Lao will be able to grow and operate efficiently.

At the present, Financial Institution Supervision Department of BOL is responsible for formulating the regulatory policies, criteria for the supervision and strategy of financial institutions and monitoring systems in order to foster the stability, strength and efficiency of financial institutions such as Banks, MFIs and SCUs. There are now 27 SCUs registered and operated in Lao PDR.
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