Arizona and Antigua Leagues Sign WOCCU Partnership Agreement
PHOENIX, Ariz.—The Arizona Credit Union System (ACUS) this week signed a partnership
agreement with the Antigua & Barbuda Cooperative Credit Union League to
help the Caribbean island nation better serve
its affiliated credit unions. The partnership agreement was arranged through
World Council of Credit Unions' (WOCCU's) International Partnership
Ellis Southwell, President of Antigua & Barbuda
Cooperative Credit Union League, (left) and Scott Earl, President/ CEO of
Arizona Credit Union System, (right) forge a partnership between the two
organizations through the signing of an international partnership agreement.
Representatives from ACUS, which serves the 56 credit unions
in the state of Arizona representing $12.2
billion in assets, visited Antigua last June
as the first step toward an international partnership agreement. This week ACUS
hosted a delegation of five representatives from the Antigua League. Ellis
Southwell, president of the Antigua League, and Scott Earl, president/CEO of
ACUS, signed a mutual agreement to make the partnership official.
"Credit unions, no matter where they are, are not that
different," said Earl. "The bottom line is that it is all about the member. Our
goal is to work with the Antigua & Barbuda Credit Union League to
institutionalize the organization and allow it to serve its member credit
unions more efficiently."
The partnership will focus on strengthening the Antigua League
through the development of new revenue streams and new products and services to
be offered to its affiliated credit unions. Currently, the Antigua League
relies on its volunteer board of directors, its volunteer supervisory committee
and dues-based structure to operate and serve affiliates. The Antigua League
also would like to incorporate more training programs, including greater
attention to compliance issues, into its member service program.
"One of the overriding principles of credit unions is people
helping people, and this partnership is an extension of that philosophy," said
Southwell. "The Antigua League is a small league with potential and we believe
that this partnership with the Arizona Credit Union System will help unleash
the possibilities and help us to develop ourselves so that we can assist our
Delegates from the Antigua & Barbuda
Cooperative Credit Union League visit Arizona State Credit Union, one of the
state's largest credit unions.
Pictured is (l to r): Back: Londel Benjamin, Treasurer St. John's Co-operative Credit Union; Hilma Burton-Roache, Office Administrator APUA Co-operative Credit Union; Ingrid O'Marde, Manager Community First Co-operative Credit Union; Kerry Joseph, Manager Antigua & Barbuda Police Co-operative Credit Union; Ellis Southwell, President Antigua & Barbuda Co-operative Credit Union League. Front: Mary Lee Blommel, Member Service Consultant Arizona Credit Union System.
After the signing, Arizona State Credit Union, one of the
state's largest credit unions, invited the delegates to tour its corporate
headquarters and to engage in a dialogue with David Doss, the credit union's
CEO. Even though Antigua's largest credit union has only about $24 million in
assets in contrast to Arizona
State's $1.1 billion, the
two groups found common ground in discussing issues ranging from banking
industry attacks to youth marketing.
"I can appreciate some of the challenges that [Antigua credit unions] face as it is harder to run these
smaller credit unions with the new demand for technology and issues such as fraud
and money laundering," said Doss. "Smaller credit unions have fewer resources,
but are still impacted by the same challenges."
The delegates also met with First Credit Union where they viewed
branch operations and discussed compliance related issues, and TruWest Credit
Union, where they discussed a credit union-to-credit union partnership between
TruWest and Antigua's Community First Cooperative
Credit Union. This direct partnership would focus on areas specific to
Community First, as well as credit union operations and best practices. The
delegates toured Arizona's
state capitol visiting two smaller credit unions, MariSol Federal Credit Union
and Southwest Healthcare Credit Union.
The next step toward accomplishing the partnership's goal of
strengthening the Antigua League will be to hold a strategic planning session
this summer to formulate a specific action plan. ACUS will also continue to
provide assistance in other key areas such as training in customer service,
loan underwriting and marketing through the partnership.
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, 51,000 credit unions in 100 countries serve 196 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.
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Contact: Mike Muckian
Organization: World Council of Credit Unions