What do teenagers and small business owners have in common? They are two of the many populations that participate in and benefit from membership in the Ecuadorian credit union OSCUS. For all of its members OSCUS dedicates itself to long-term life planning for members that goes beyond standard savings-and-loans. Visit one of the many OSCUS workshops and you might find children learning how to save, entrepreneurs learning about administration or the elderly learning accounting. Individuals come to the credit union for life coaching, car loans, medical coverage and burial insurance as OSCUS literally supports members from cradle to grave.
For almost fifty years OSCUS has responded to member needs. In 1962 Ecuador experienced a nation wide movement towards financial cooperation. From the mountains to the coast, small groups of vulnerable people began to see their incomes as tributaries for a larger economic structure. Joining forces in an attempt to improve their lives, many Ecuadorians united their tiny economic influence together and these small trickles became rivers.
Nestled in a mountain valley, the people of Ambato, Ecuador had the opportunity to take part in this movement. 25 Ambatonians formed an assembly to lay the groundwork for a credit union and by June of 1963, OSCUS had developed a centralized structure and began inviting membership. Today the cooperative has over 130,000 members and has received numerous awards of excellence.
Just as OSCUS encourages its members to plan for the future, evaluate choices and strategies, the cooperative itself constantly reevaluates how it can best provide services. Beyond the awards, OSCUS success can be seen in the many lives it has changed.
Still focused on supporting venerable populations, the credit union looks for ways to enable the goals of its members. While examining avenues to capacity and geographic range expansion, it continues to impact home town members everyday.
Walk around Ambato and ask the locals. You will hear these stories: With OSCUS I started my business. With OSCUS I built my house. With OSCUS I was able to send my kids to school. This is the ongoing realization of a vision, a vision in which everyone from teenagers to small business owners can take part.