Representatives Dick Nesvold, Board Chairman Minnesota Credit Union Network, and Mark Cummins, President & CEO Minnesota Credit Union Network, recently attended an international seminar in Asuncion, Paraguay. The seminar took place on May21-22 and was the fifth annual event. The
title this year was “Credit Unions: Valid Alternatives for Social &
Economic Development, emphasis on Training, Technology, Regulation,
Ecology & Microfinance.” Approximately, 400 credit union representatives were in attendance.
Both Nesvold and Cummins addressed the conference on key topics such as credit union governance and the effect of government relations and politics on credit unions. The conference also consisted of presentations covering other areas of interest including monitoring financial risk, advances in regulation and supervision, and the impact of tax reform on credit unions.
Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) and Central de Cooperativas del Area Nacional Ltda. (CENCOPAN) have been partnered through WOCCU’s International Partnerships Program since 2004. The partnership has allowed for the two credit union movements to facilitate a number of initiatives such as a credit union exchange program and an international dialogue with regulators from Paraguay, NCUA and the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
Both credit union movements are concerned with issue-driven political advocacy and the toll that crisis-mode grassroots lobbying takes. The movements would like to move towards systemic political advocacy and working with legislators on a continual basis.
After the conference, the Cummins, Nesvold, and Michelle Kramer of WOCCU met with Sen. Rolando Dietze of Paraguay’s National Congress and Committee of Cooperative Affairs where they discussed the country’s economy and the impact of cooperatives.
The final two days of the trip consisted of visits to numerous credit unions, including Mercado No. 4 Ltda., and Universitaria Ltda., Del Sur Ltda. and Colonias Unidas Ltda. Nesvold, who had previously visited some of these credit unions in the inaugural partnership visit in 2004, was able to review the tremendous changes that had taken place in the last three years of the partnership.
Both Minnesota guests were encouraged, energized and honored by their visit to Paraguay and have great hope in the Paraguay credit union movement.
View the press release here .
Written by Josh Fetting, International Partnerships Program Specialist