SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (10/31/12)--The trade association for Costa Rican credit unions, Federación de Cooperativas de Ahorro y Crédito de Costa Rica R.L. (FEDEAC), recently hosted U.S. credit union leaders at a conference on growing and uniting the Costa Rican credit union movement through greater cooperation and leadership development.
Credit union leaders from the League of Southeastern Credit Unions & Affiliates (LSCU) and World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) attended FEDEAC's annual credit union leadership conference in celebration of its 13th anniversary. LSCU serves credit unions in Alabama and Florida.
Coordinated by WOCCU's International Partnerships Program, the visit was part of a series of collaborative activities that began in 2005 between FEDEAC and LSCU to promote credit union growth. At the conference, LSCU representatives presented on credit unions' use of technology to create greater efficiencies, improve security, enhance the member experience and attract new members--especially youth.
The LSCU delegation also visited several of FEDEAC's member credit unions, including Coopenae, Coopeande No. 1 R.L. and Coopeservidores. Additional meetings took place with the Costa Rican legislative assembly and national regulators to discuss credit union regulations and contributions to socioeconomic development.
"As we met with congressional leaders in Costa Rica, I was struck by the commonalities between our respective credit union movements," said Patrick La Pine, LSCU president/CEO. Increasingly, greater importance is being placed on advocacy efforts in defense of credit unions, highlighting the difference between credit unions and banks as financial institutions."
Patrick La Pine, president/ CEO of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions, spoke to the trade association for Costa Rican credit unions conference attendees about using technology to attract new credit union members. (Photos provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
Joining La Pine on the visit was Innovations FCU President/CEO David Southall, an LSCU affiliate, who discussed innovative technological products and services, including the use of social media and dialogue tower banking, which incorporates new branch design elements to improve the member experience, attract youth and increase overall membership. Innovations is based in Panama City, Fla.
WOCCU President/CEO Brian Branch spoke at the conference about global credit union trends.
"Costa Rican credit unions have a large market penetration, with about one in five people in the country belonging to a credit union," Branch said. "FEDEAC, our member organization in Costa Rica, is looking at ways to unite and grow the system through greater collaboration. Patrick and David had excellent experiences to share from both a league perspective and through Innovations FCU's use of technology to operate more efficiently and to reach a younger demographic."
Victor Miguel Corro, WOCCU vice president of the Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions, coordinated and joined U.S. representatives on the visit. FEDEAC President/CEO Manuel Bolaños hosted the visit.
There are 66 active credit unions in Costa Rica serving 611,182 members.
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