PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil- The Florida Credit Union League (FCUL) and Confederação Interestadual das Cooperativas Ligadas ao SICREDI (SICREDI), a trade association for 130 Brazilian credit unions, signed a partnership agreement last week in a mutual effort to improve services to member credit unions in both countries. The partnership brings to 27 the total of World Council of Credit Unions' (WOCCU) international partnerships between U.S. states or Canadian provinces with credit union movements in developing countries.
|Officials from FCUL and SICREDI gathered in Porto Alegre, Brazil last week to sign a partnership agreement. Back row (left to right): Luiz Carlos Wanderer, SICREDI Regional Manager; David Brock, Community Educators Credit Union President & CEO; Robert Beskovoyne, Martin Federal Credit Union President; Cassandra Grayson, FCUL Senior Vice President Administration; Joshua Fetting, WOCCU Program Specialist; Enio Meinen, SICREDI Vice President and Director. Front row: William DeMare, Bay Gulf Credit Union President and CEO; Orlando Borges Müller, SICREDI Central RS Manager; John Hirabayashi, Community First Credit Union President and CEO and FCUL Chairman, Alcenor Pagnussatt, SICREDI President; Victor Corro, WOCCU International Partnerships Manager; Ademar Schardong, SICREDI Cooperative Bank President.|
"This partnership is singular in that SICREDI and the Florida Credit Union League come from developed credit union movements, which isn't always the case," said Victor Miguel Corro, manager of WOCCU's International Partnerships Program. "It will be interesting to see the interaction of two peers in advancing their respective credit unions to deliver enhanced products and services to their members."
Five Florida credit union and league representatives travelled to Porto Alegre, Brazil to meet with SICREDI executives and discuss areas of cooperation. The partnership will focus on advanced objectives such as international shared branching, reducing the cost of remittances between the United States and Brazil and staff exchanges between the two organizations in the areas of technology, marketing and efficient management of investment and liquidity at central financial facilities. Given the role Florida plays as a popular vacation destination for many Brazilians, these are key areas for the partnership. Florida credit unions are also looking into providing some services to Brazilian travelers through shared branching.
At SICREDI's Porto Alegre headquarters last week, Florida representatives heard presentations on the Brazilian organization's unique infrastructure and how it serves its members. SICREDI's business model differs from U.S. league structures in that the association owns a cooperative bank that provides back-office support and services to its 130 member credit unions. SICREDI credit unions also share the same branding, look and feel in each of their service centers. Though collectively part of the same network, every credit union has its own governance structure and management.
The Florida delegation also visited cooperatives that have partnered with SICREDI exclusively to use its business-oriented products. The Aurora Winery Co-op and Santa Clara Dairy Co-op, for example, use SICREDI's payroll and factoring services. The employees of these cooperatives have a long history of membership at SICREDI and were some of its very first members.
"As we live in an increasingly interconnected world, SICREDI adopted as one of its core activities the 'internationalization' of our institution," said Alcenor Pagnussatt, CEO of SICREDI and a WOCCU director. "In every country we visit, we look for best practices to continually advance and modernize SICREDI credit unions. We are very happy to now have a direct link with the U.S. through the Florida Credit Union League."
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, 56,000 credit unions in 101 countries serve 200 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.