The New Ulm branch of SouthPoint Federal Credit Union hosted six delegates from Paraguay on Tuesday as part of an international credit union exchange program.
SouthPoint participates in the MN Credit Union Network and the World Council of Credit Unions, which fosters international exchanges with credit union members. In June, SouthPoint CEO Dick Nesvold traveled to Paraguay to as part of the program. This month, the Paraguay members made the trip the United States.
During the trips, visiting members are shown how credit unions operate in the respective nations.
The group is primarily touring Minnesota on their visit and the New Ulm visit was one of the stops. During their time in town, the group had a tour of the city and received a seminar on IT Infrastructure from SouthPoint personnel.
Nesvold said the value of the exchange is that U.S. credit union members can learn about Paraguay's use of micro-loans on very small businesses while Paraguay delegates learn about how local credit union respond to increased government regulation.
Dario Quinonez, CENCOPAN CEO, and Juan Angel Nunez, CENCOPAN Vice Chair, said their visit to the U.S. was a highlight of their careers. They said they plan to use their education in electronic interactions with credit unions to address sparely populated portions of Paraguay.
When asked about the personal impressions about Minnesota, they said encountering snow for the first time was a special experience. They said making snowballs was the first thing they did after getting off the bus.
They said they were also very impressed with how friendly people in Minnesota were.
"It's great to know that when you travel here, it feels like people are family," said Juan.
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