About 100 representatives from the Texas and Brazil credit union movements Sunday witnessed the official signing of an international partnership agreement between the Texas Credit Union League (TCUL) and the Confederação Interestadual das Cooperativas Ligadas ao SICREDI (SICREDI), a trade association for 128 Brazilian credit unions, and one of Brazil's leading credit union organizations. The partnership is through WOCCU's International Partnerships Program.
The signing took place at The 1 Credit Union Conference in Las Vegas, and brings the number of World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) partnership programs to 26 (LoneStar Leaguer July 13).
The partnership allows dialogue and the exchange of ideas and best practices between Texas credit unions and counterparts in Brazil, Ensweiler added.
"We are enthusiastic about solidifying a partnership with SICREDI," said TCUL President/CEO Dick Ensweiler. "While they are a relatively young movement, they are quite sophisticated. I'm extremely impressed with the level of cooperation that exists between SICREDI's member credit unions, and I'm confident that this will be a mutually beneficial relationship."
The partnership will kick off tomorrow, when about 25 SICREDI staff will visit Members Trust of the Southwest FCU in Stephenville, followed by a tour of a 3,300-plus head dairy farm. Agricultural cooperatives are very strong in Brazil, and many credit unions in Brazil started out serving farmers, TCUL said.
Collaboration will continue in September, with a four-week visit by 11 SICREDI staff to TCUL and its member credit unions, to get a better sense of how U.S. credit unions approach operational, marketing and member service issues.
The visits will be reciprocated at some point in the future with a visit by TCUL staff and members to SICREDI's office and operations in Brazil.
"There is always room for learning from others, and we expect there to be a lot of idea-sharing and exchanges that will make all of our credit unions even better," said Manfred Dasenbrock, chair of SICREDI and a member of WOCCU's board of directors who participated in the agreement signing. "We look forward to working with the league and Texas credit unions."
TCUL also maintains a partnership with the Jamaica Credit Union League through the WOCCU program.