Credit unions are increasingly recognized as an important element in micro finance. They are the most widespread type of savings and loan co-operatives. Credit unions are owned and operated on a not-for-profit basis by their members, according to democratic principles. Membership in credit unions is voluntary and open to all within an accepted common bond. Success in the field of micro finance is a matter of outreach and sustainability. But the questions remain: are credit unions successful micro finance institutions?; do they reach large numbers of the poor?; do they operate efficiently and ensure financial sustainability?; and if not, is this due to the internal particularities of credit unions or to external factors, such as poorly designed technical assistance? This book reviews experiences with refinancing credit unions in several countries in Africa, Asia and the Americas. It examines how refinancing facilities have influenced the quality of the loan portfolio, whether external credit lines have enhanced their profitability and whether debt finance has led to sustained growth and better outreach to the poor.