Iowa/Panama Visit Adds Cultural Twist to Cooperativeness
(l-r) Jacinto Villarreal, COFEP CEO, and Pat Jury, ICUL president and CEO.
Des Moines, IA—Jacinto Villarreal, CEO
Panama's credit union association (COFEP),
visited the Iowa Credit Union League (ICUL) at
the beginning of August for the first round of
activities after signing the official
International Partnerships contract in April.
ICUL arranged an agenda for the CEO and his son,
which included a mix of both culture and
Pat Jury, ICUL president and CEO, opened his
home to Villarreal and his son for the weeklong
visit. Not only did this give Villarreal the
opportunity to witness daily life of a league
CEO in the United States, but it also gave him
an opportunity to practice the English he had
been studying in order to better communicate
with his Iowa partners. Jury ensured his guests
experienced "heartland hospitality" through
cultural experiences such as a ballgame, potluck
and the chance to sit in on an interview with
Iowa Congressman Jim Nussle.
The business side proved to be rich in
experience as well, as Villarreal spoke with a
variety of "experts" during his stay.
Villarreal shadowed Jury throughout the week to
observe how leagues sought new business
opportunities within their regions.
Discussions dealt with maintaining credit
membership and league sustenance on a shrinking
dues base. Warren Morrow and Max Cardenas of
Diverse Innovative Solutions also discussed
Hispanic outreach activities of Iowa credit
unions with Villarreal. Innovative Solutions is
the only consulting firm in Iowa focused on
economic development in multicultural and other
emerging markets. Management consultants Dianne
Taylor and Jan Dietzenbach met with Villarreal
to talk about credit union monitoring systems,
while Murray Williams, director of strategic
alliances and public affairs, joined the
discussion on credit union development plans.
Villarreal also visited the Iowa Corporate
Central Credit Union to gain an understanding of
how a central liquidity facility helps
individual credit unions with their deposits and
"We continue to strengthen our relationship with
COFEP and the Panamanian credit union movement,"
Jury said, expressing his satisfaction with the
ongoing partnership. "We also found time to
enjoy a variety of social and cultural
activities to give [Villarreal] and his son a
flavor of Iowan hospitality. It was a special
week for me and a way to strengthen the bond
between us even further."
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.