Birmingham, AL – The Alabama Credit Union League's (ACUL) partnership with the Costa Rican Credit Union Movement and World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), formed this past August, heated up last week as ACUL representatives returned from an introductory trip to San Jose. The purpose of the exploratory trip was to gather the information needed to move the partnership forward.
"We were extremely impressed with the level of sophistication of the credit union movement in Costa Rica," said ACUL Senior EVP/COO Vicki Williams, one of two ACUL representatives making the trip. "Based on our introductory meetings with FEDEAC R.L. management and board, we believe the agreement between Costa Rica and Alabama will make an excellent partnership arrangement. All the credit unions we met with indicated a high degree of interest in direct partnerships with Alabama credit unions and it was obvious during our discussions that we have much to learn from each other."
Coordinated by WOCCU, the partnership details are now on track to be finalized in early 2006. The plan is for credit unions in Alabama to work with WOCCU and FEDEAC R.L., the trade association for Costa Rica's credit unions, in identifying areas of cooperation and then proceed to develop a strategy for working together to share information and specialties. There are currently 70 active credit unions in Costa Rica, serving 490,545 members.
According to WOCCU International Partnerships Manager Victor Corro, "There was definitely great chemistry between Costa Rica and Alabama credit union movements. It was effortless to find areas of cooperation and we believe this trip was a great start to the partnership. FEDEAC, the Costa Rican partner, expressed that it has found a great ally in Alabama to further the scope of products and services to its member credit unions. Several individual credit unions, as a result of the recent visit, have voiced their desire to establish direct partnership with individual credit unions in Alabama, too."
"It appears from our initial meetings that we are now poised to move on to the next step in our partnership," said ACUL CEO Gary B. Wolter. "We plan to host representatives from FEDEAC and Costa Rican credit unions here in Alabama in the spring and find the appropriate credit unions state-wide with which to match them with for direct partnerships. We are very excited about the many opportunities this creates, allowing us to share our collective knowledge and experiences."
World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development agency for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.
World Council has implemented more than 290 technical assistance programs in 71 countries. Worldwide, 57,000 credit unions in 103 countries serve 208 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.