Day's Highlights Include Lively Debate and AGM
The 3rd day of World Council of Credit
Unions' (WOCCU) inaugural World Credit Union
Conference saw an entertaining debate by two top
credit union leaders, a lunchtime presentation on
storytelling as a means of outreach to members,
competition presentations and WOCCU's Annual
General Meeting (AGM).
In the morning's general session, Jim Blaine,
CEO of the State
Employees Credit Union of
Rob Nichols, CEO of the Australian National
Ltd., led a joint talk on "Credit
Union Values: A
Discussion that Needs to Happen" moderated by
Liam O'Dwyer of the Irish League of Credit
Unions. What started off as a calm question-and-
answer session became a lively debate
on the definition of a credit union, with Blaine
insisting the credit union "is a cause, not a
business," while Nichols stood firm on the fact
that the credit union is essentially a customer-
While both men opposed de-mutualization,
their widely differing viewpoints on most topics
made for an interesting and well-rounded talk
that ended in an entertaining "credit union vs.
bank" demonstration by
Blaine. Responding to Nichols' assertion that
credit unions are commodities like banks, he
compared banks to apples and credit unions to
oranges. Holding a piece of fruit in each hand,
he said "they're alike in many ways. But there
are several differences that are sometimes
difficult to describe but very important." To
illustrate his point he took a bite of the apple,
and Nichols countered that by biting the orange
with its peel still on.
Following this highly successful talk were the
first four break-out sessions of the day, with
leaders from credit unions around the world
sharing their expertise on a broad range of
topics, including De-Mutualization, Creating a
High Performance/High Fulfillment Culture,
Information Technology and a look into Italian
and German Cooperative Banks.
During a lunch presentation, Alexandra
director of strategic relationships for Canada's
VanCity, gave a luncheon address
entitled "Standing Out: How Vancity has used
Storytelling to Act Small While Growing Tall."
She described the process of collecting anecdotes
from 2,000 employees in a massive brainstorming
session on the history of their credit union.
After this informative lecture, the second set of
four break-out sessions commenced, treating such
topics as Asset Liability Management, Serving
Generations of Members
and Attracting and Retaining Top Directors.
The day ended with the World Council Annual
General Meeting and the
of the WYCUP competition entries.
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 105 countries serve 217 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.