PLANO, Texas—Southwest Corporate Federal Credit Union and the Belize Credit Union League (BCUL) have signed an international partnership agreement of mutual cooperation between the two credit union entities. The agreement, signed August 8 as part of World Council of Credit Unions' (WOCCU) International Partnerships program, follows eight months of an informal cooperation between the two groups and marks the first time a corporate credit union has partnered directly with a national credit union movement.
"We are thrilled to be the first corporate credit union to enter into this type of cooperative arrangement," said John Cassidy, president & CEO of Southwest Corporate. "It is our intent to nurture this relationship beyond financial support. We are interested in a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship, and an aggressive exchange of ideas has already begun."
Corporate credit unions offer services that allow natural person credit unions to better meet member needs, according to Victor Miguel Corro, WOCCU's International Partnerships manager. By sharing information about topics such as payment systems, ALM training, interconnectivity and wire transfers, the two organizations will establish a relationship based on topics more technical in nature. Credit union leagues, on the other hand, play a bigger role in mounting advocacy efforts on the part of their partner organizations. As with leagues, Corro added, the benefits of the relationship between the two groups will travel in both directions.
"We have been working with corporates very closely for a long time; they play a very important role in WOCCU's development work overseas. To go further and sign a partnership agreement with a country is certainly taking it to the next level," Corro explained. "My hope is that many other corporates work along with WOCCU and lend their expertise to strengthen the industry around the world."
Thirteen Belize credit union delegates, including five from Belize's 13 member credit unions, traveled to Southwest Corporate's Plano headquarters for the event. The Belize credit union contingents present represented La Inmaculada Credit Union, St. John's Credit Union, Holy Redeemer Credit Union, Toledo Teacher's Credit Union and St. Martin's Credit Union.
To accommodate the large group, the hosts organized various roundtable educational sessions with local credit union executives to cover key areas of interest. The three roundtable sessions discussed information technology operations and security, business continuity, product development and marketing and loan operations.
"We view Southwest Corporate as part of an evolved credit union system and hope that the knowledge that they have to share with us will help Belize in its mission to have stronger credit unions," said Natalie Goff, BCUL's executive director. "We also hope that Southwest Corporate can learn from the passion that the Belize credit unionists have for their credit unions. We look forward to a long lasting relationship with Southwest Corporate."
In addition to the roundtable sessions, the delegates also participated in a training session on board governance and operational tours of local credit unions. Goff visited the Texas Credit Union League's Bob Gallman, senior vice president and chief operations officer, and Mike Delker, vice president of credit union relations, to discuss league operations. The visit concluded with the partnership agreement signing between Southwest Corporate and BCUL.
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.