About Us


In the 1960’s, the Irish credit union movement expanded rapidly throughout the island of Ireland and during this time credit unions played an important role within their communities to provide savings and loans facilities for people who needed financial services. The need for credit unions in Ireland was evident and they greatly improved the standards of living and contributed to the development of the local economy. The movement gained further success as it matured and credit unions had gathered a great deal of knowledge that they wanted to share with other emerging movements. Irish credit unions joined forces in 1980 and pooled their resources together to establish the Irish League of Credit Unions International Development Foundation Ltd. (ILCU Foundation) which would allow them provide support for fledgling movements. In 1989, the ILCU Foundation was formally registered and received its charitable status.

Financial Literacy training in The Gambia.

Credit unions can bring hope and an opportunity for poor people and communities in developing countries to change their lives’ for the better by providing them with access to basic financial services to improve their standard of living. A loan from a credit union could help a small holder farmer to buy a pump to irrigate their land, which can then provide more crops that they can sell at the local market to increase their household income, for example.

The ILCU Foundation believes that credit unions can be at the forefront to fight poverty and financial exclusion. Credit union staff and volunteers across the world undertake training to ensure that their credit union is sustainable for the next generation of members. Through our vast knowledge of credit unions and through the help of our volunteers, the ILCU Foundation can help communities in developing countries to ‘build’ sustainable credit unions through training initiatives.

Credit Unions provide access to secure savings and affordable loans.

For almost 30 years the ILCU Foundation has collaborated with Irish credit union experts, drawing down on their extensive knowledge and experience which helps us to provide highly effective training initiatives and programmes. To provide this level of assistance to a credit union movement in a developing country it requires long term holistic support at every level of the credit union system to ensure the best possible outcome. The ILCU Foundation helps grass root credit unions through training on governance, financial management and accounting, and help their members improve their understanding of their finances through financial literacy training.

What Makes Us Different?


Upper Bambara Credit Union staff at the wicket in remote Pendembu town in Sierra Leone.

Focus: the focus is on strengthening credit union movements in developing countries, thereby helping people to help themselves.

Ownership and funding: the ILCU Foundation is owned and largely funded by contributions from credit unions throughout the island of Ireland.

Niche: the expertise of the Irish credit union movement is leveraged to provide targeted, requested technical assistance.

Long-term support: the ILCU Foundation is committed to providing long-term support thereby supporting sustainable, positive changes in its countries of operation.