We remember the 2010 earthquake in Haiti that destroyed much of Port au Prince, including credit unions. Credit unions provided some of the very first relief in their local communities. Credit unions in the Dominican Republic established a supply line of water and food to credit unions in Haiti.
You responded as the international credit union system always does. We carried a knapsack of cash and shipped tents into Haiti via Dominican Republic credit unions. Within a week credit unions were serving their members with cash withdrawals in tents in the parking lots of their destroyed buildings. Other financial institutions did not resume operations for weeks or months. You contributed funds to help rebuild credit unions in Haiti. We leveraged USAID funds to install updated computer systems in credit unions. After the crisis credit unions grew faster because people remembered that it was their credit union that provided the fastest and deepest leadership when they needed it most.
Many homes were destroyed or damaged. Many families lived in tent cities or in tents in their backyards because they were afraid to sleep in their damaged homes.
Since that time, we have worked with Haitian credit unions to finance housing. Personal mortgages were unheard of before except for the most affluent. With USAID funding and your support credit unions have introduced funding for affordable and safer housing for members. In 2016 when Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti, credit unions were gratified to see, for a change, their members safe and protected in homes they had financed.
So often, the work that your colleague credit unions do with your support makes a life-impacting difference around the world. The impact is seen both in the immediate impact and in the resulting ripples over time. That is why we tell you the story of what you have done. Thank you for your support.
President & CEO
World Council of Credit Unions