International Partners Missouri & Barbados Plan For Future

October 07, 2004

(St. Louis, MO) The Missouri Credit Union Association welcomed 12 representatives from Barbados credit unions on September 26 – October 2. The visit is part of MCUA's International Partnership with the World Council of Credit Unions, Inc. and the Barbados Cooperative and Credit Union League (BCCUL). Representatives from Barbados Public Workers' Co-operative Credit Union, City of Bridgetown Cooperative Credit Union, Light & Power Employees' Credit Union and BCCUL participated in the exchange.

"We saw a variety of organizations, each one willing to share with us information that we will find invaluable as we develop our own credit union," said Carlos Clarke, IT manager for the City of Bridgetown Co-operative Credit Union. "Modeling the league and a corporate along the lines of Missouri's structure can improve our overall industry competitiveness and efficiency and help to make the league selfsufficient." Missouri and Barbados have formally established four target areas for the partnership: shared branching, ATM availability and deployment, debit/credit cards and public/legislative advocacy. During the trip, Barbados representatives visited credit unions and MCUA staff members with expertise in those areas. "We were impressed with the questions they asked, particularly about the balanced scorecard tied to our goals," said Ken Moser, Arsenal Credit Union's vice president of Marketing. "They were very friendly, and also business-savvy. It was a pleasure having them visit us."

Arsenal is one of eight credit unions visited by the Barbados representatives. Other credit union hosts include Anheuser-Busch Employees', Electro Savings, First Missouri, Gateway Metro, St. Louis Community, Vantage, and the West County Shared Branch. "The major difference between our credit union operations and Missouri's is the level of automated and electronic services offered and the acceptance and willingness of your members to use them," noted Susan Dyall, development project officer with the Barbados Public Workers' Co- operative Credit Union. Barbados League staff members also traveled to Jefferson City to learn more about political advocacy.

Along with a review of Missouri credit union's political efforts, Barbados leaders met with representatives from the Missouri Department of Economic Development and the Division of Credit Unions Director John Smith, and toured the state capitol. The seven-day visit included some fun activities. During their stop at ABECU, the Barbados visitors met the world-famous Anheuser- Busch Clydesdales. They also took time to tour the area and enjoy a reception with Missouri credit union staff from across the state. "We continue to benefit from a cultural exchange of experience and expertise," said Roshara Holub, MCUA president/CEO, to the Barbados visitors. "Our partnership and having our partners here reminds us of our credit union roots. This is really an example of people- helping-people and your spirit and enthusiasm has rejuvenated many of us."

Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives owned by the people who use them. The Missour iCredit Union Association is the trade association representing 176 credit unions and 1.4 million credit union members in Missouri.

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 300+ technical assistance programs in 89 countries. Worldwide, 68,882 credit unions in 109 countries serve 235 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at