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26 de julio de 2005

Day's Highlights Include Lively Debate and AGM

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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 credit union storytelling as a means of outreach to members, the WYCUP 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 the US, and Rob Nichols, CEO of the Australian National Credit Union, 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- friendly bank.

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 Paproski, 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 presentations of the WYCUP competition entries.

El Consejo Mundial de Cooperativas de Ahorro y Crédito es la asociación gremial y agencia de desarrollo para el sistema internacional de cooperativas de ahorro y crédito. El Consejo Mundial promueve el crecimiento sustentable de las cooperativas de ahorro y crédito y otras cooperativas financieras en todo el mundo a fin de facultar a las personas para que mejoren su calidad de vida a través del acceso a servicios financieros asequibles y de alta calidad. El Consejo Mundial realiza esfuerzos de defensa activa en representación del sistema global de las cooperativas de ahorro y crédito ante organizaciones internacionales y trabaja con gobiernos nacionales para mejorar la legislación y la regulación. Sus programas de asistencia técnica introducen nuevas herramientas y tecnologías para fortalecer el desempeño financiero de las cooperativas de ahorro y crédito y profundizar su alcance comunitario.

El Consejo Mundial ha implementado 290 programas de asistencia técnica en 71 países. A nivel mundial, 57,000 cooperativas de ahorro y crédito en 105 países atienden a 217 millones de personas. Obtenga más información sobre el impacto global del Consejo Mundial en

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