The President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa is looking to increase social inclusion and revamp the country’s economy in the aftermath of the April earthquake. In July, Mr Correa met with representatives from saving and credit co-operatives to discuss the role of the sector in facilitating access to finance, particularly in those areas most affected by the earthquake.
As part of this plan, the President will enable the creation of a Superior Technological Institute to train practitioners in the solidarity economy.
Mr Correa has also approved plans for co-operatives to issue credit cards and current accounts. Juan Pablo Guerra of the Union of Saving and Credit Co-operatives said that co-operatives needed to sort out a few details, but that the sector would soon be issuing credit cards at national level. The co-ops will also have to have deposit insurance.
The credit union sector includes 800 credit co-operatives with five million members. Therefore, saving and credit co-operatives are seen as key actors in granting access to financial services, particularly at local level. Co-ops account for 67% of microcredits granted while the value of their assets totals USD $8m. Read more on the Alliance for the Americas’ website.