In 2013, World Council of Credit Unions added a new relationship to its existing International Partnerships Program as Cooperativa de Ahorro y Crédito OSCUS Ltda. of Ecuador and BCU of Illinois signed a partnership agreement in June.
The partnerships program maintained its strong level of Worldwide Foundation supporters with all 20 partnerships having at least one partner providing direct financial support to the program. There were a total of 42 financial supporters in the program in 2013, a decline of seven supporters from last year. The decline in supporters can be attributed to mergers of institutions that donated individually in the past.
Partnership activities and other events sponsored by the partnerships program received good coverage across trade and social media. Articles and stories on international partners and departmental programs appeared in league newsletters, CUNA's News Now, Credit Union Magazine, Credit Union Times and, periodically, in non-U.S. financial and trade publications. The department has also started to focus its communication efforts on timely, informative posts through social media outlets, allowing the stories to spread faster and reach a wider audience.
In 2013, World Council also reoriented its offering of international training programs, focusing on larger groups with a more technical scope of work. This strategy included developing an annual financial management workshop geared toward Latin American credit unions. The pilot workshop was held in Miami, Florida, and focused on risk management. It attracted 68 participants from nine countries.
The Worldwide Foundation applied for a renewal of the U.S. State Department grant from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Office of Citizen Exchanges, to carry out the International Credit Union Leadership Program in 2014 and 2015. The proposal was approved; however, due to the government sequester, the U.S. Department of State did not receive enough funds to fund all approved proposals in the program.