International Partnerships Program Activity in 2004
WOCCU’s International Partnerships Program added
three new relationships in 2004:Paraguay/Minnesota, Missouri/Barbados, and Caja Libertad (Mexico)/Arizona. This translates into improving the quality
and scope of services in credit unions serving more than 1.1 million members in
While international partnerships remain a means for
cultural and information exchange, their focus has evolved to become more
technical in nature. With increased
interest in international transactions and technology-driven operations in
credit unions, many US League partners are now playing a key role when working
with WOCCU to provide operational expertise and to offer experienced advice in
information technology requirements to developing partners.
WOCCU’s goal is to make the partnerships as
effective as possible. Partners work
with WOCCU to conduct planning sessions to set annual goals and work plans for
their partnerships. Each partnership
conducts a review session at the end of each quarter to measure work plan
effectiveness so priorities and activities are continually evaluated and
realigned. This assures that the
partnership remains focused and both partners feel that their relationship adds
value to their mission.
Partners outside the United States report they have
received invaluable advice and concrete benefits. To cite a few examples, CENCOPAN in Paraguay
expressed that their international relationship has allowed them to have
face-to-face meetings with their own government officials; Caja Popular
Mexicana saved about two million dollars on a software purchase; Kenya credit
unions’ management and board have been able to participate in a formal training
program; credit union members in rural Bolivia enjoy the benefits of shared
credit union branches.
United States credit union leagues have reported
they were pleased with the benefits they received from volunteering the time of
their staff and their credit unions.
Many found partnerships illustrated the credit union difference when
talking with their state or national policy makers. Others reported benefits to their marketing
programs due to the awareness this program brought of new membership segments
such as Spanish speaking members or new immigrants. Leagues and credit unions reported the
partnerships contributed to their staff’s professional development both from
credit union philosophy and technical perspectives.
All partnerships are
country-to-state league; some include credit union-to-credit union matches
under the state league umbrella. As of
December 2004, WOCCU’s international partnerships portfolio consisted of 15
active partnerships and 5 progressing toward formal agreements.