MADISON, Wis. — Credit Union Executives Society (CUES), the Madison-based credit union professional development organization, and CUNA board Vice Chair Harriet May, president and CEO of GECU in El Paso, Texas, USA, have received World Council of Credit Unions' (WOCCU) Distinguished Service Award (DSA) for 2010. The pair of winners will join Lech Kaczyński, the late president of Poland whose DSA honor was announced last month, and will be recognized during a special ceremony at The 1 Credit Union Conference, scheduled for July 11-14 at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nev., USA.
"DSA honors are bestowed by our board of directors only when candidates of worth present themselves," said Pete Crear, WOCCU president and CEO. "Both CUES and Harriet May have a long history of promoting and supporting global credit union development at its most intrinsic level, and I am thrilled that our board chose to honor them this year."
May, nominated by the Texas Credit Union League and winner of the DSA individual award, was originally scheduled to be honored during WOCCU's 2009 World Credit Union Conference in Barcelona, Spain, but was unable to attend. The WOCCU board voted to approve her award as part of the 2010 event.
May has spent her career in credit unions, part of which has been dedicated to helping financial cooperatives work beyond state and national borders to meet the needs of members worldwide. In the 1990s she was instrumental in helping WOCCU develop and launch IRnet®, its international remittance program enabling workers in the U.S. to cost-effectively send money home — primarily to Latin American countries — through a network of credit unions. She also has worked to extend the influence and service of the Texas League by initiating the league's formal Texas/Mexico CU Relationship Committee in 1999. She has been instrumental in helping Texas credit unions address the emerging Hispanic market and has worked with Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico, in developing cross-border relationships.
CUES, the 2010 institutional honoree, has been educating and serving international credit union leaders since its inception in 1962, and financially supporting WOCCU's development and relief initiatives for two decades. The organization in 1990 pledged $10,000 to support credit union development in Eastern Europe, became an inaugural WOCCU Supporter in 2000 and continues to support WOCCU's goals and objectives on an annual basis. In 2005, CUES donated $100,000 to help rebuild credit unions in Sri Lanka that were devastated by the tsunami.
Earlier this year, the organization contributed $15,000 to WOCCU's Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund, and last month CUES President and CEO Fred Johnson traveled with a credit union delegation to personally witness the devastation Haiti and its credit unions had suffered. In addition, CUES continues to host many of its educational programs at various international locations with the goal of broadening participants' perspectives to better understand the global credit union movement.
Along with Kaczyński, May and CUES will be recognized during the closing ceremonies at The 1 Credit Union Conference, a one-time event that combines CUNA's America's Credit Union Conference with WOCCU's World Credit Union Conference. The conference's early bird deadline is Thursday, May 20, after which registration fees will increase. For more information and to register for the conference, visit www.vegas2010.org.
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.