Louisiana Credit Union League Welcomes Russian Training Group to New Orleans

June 27, 2007

Organization: World Council of Credit Unions
Phone: (608) 395-2000

Eight credit union leaders hailing from the east coast of Russia to Moscow are in New Orleans, Louisiana, this week for a 10-day training workshop organized in conjunction with WOCCU and the Russian league. Pictured (front, l-r): Viktoria Baginova, Credit Consumer Cooperative of Citizens "Diana-Cash" (Russia), Anne Cochran, LCUL President and CEO, Luibov Gashtold, Pomorskiy Credit Union CEO (Russia), and John Kalfayan, WOCCU Senior Manager of Technical Services, together with LCUL staff and the Russian delegation.

Madison, WI—In response to the Russian credit union system’s request for short-term training opportunities, World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), the Russian Credit Union League (RCUL) and the Louisiana Credit Union League (LCUL) began a 10-day training program in New Orleans’ French Quarter on Monday for eight credit union executives and board members from across Russia.

LCUL staff, in conjunction with the league’s education department, are presenting topics this week that include credit union regulation, board governance, corporate credit union structure, marketing, strategic planning, security, member services and internal audit training. As part of the workshop’s unifying theme on the types of services leagues provide, the Russian visitors also had the opportunity to join 100 other credit union professionals at the East/West Orleans Chapter Meeting on Tuesday. They will be attending a function Thursday evening in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, as part of a joint Louisiana/Mississippi Supervisory Committee Training program.

Anne Cochran, LCUL President and CEO and lead organizer of the training, set the tone on Monday by sharing her insight and experience in providing league services.

The group toured Eagle Louisiana FCU in Baton Rouge to learn about its history, operations, services and field of membership. Eagle Louisiana FCU Accounting Clerk, Marina Nading, is originally from Moscow and provided translation. Pictured (l-r): Andrey Kutuzov, Russian translator; Ginger Manint, Eagle Louisiana FCU President and CEO; Viktoria Baginova; Alexander Istomin, Credit Consumer Cooperative “Guriayanin” CEO; Marina Nading; and Natalia Yashenkova, Interpreter, Motherland Credit Union.

“We are honored to have this group in Louisiana to share our expertise with them as they continue growing the credit union movement in their country,” Cochran said. “Establishing consistent, accurate policies and procedures lays the foundation for a strong movement in Russia and Eastern Europe over the long term. We’ve shared LCUL’s vision with them and have worked hard to develop a curriculum that will provide valuable information they can implement in Russia to make their credit unions successful for many years to come.”

John Kalfayan, WOCCU Senior Manager of Technical Services who has been working closely with RCUL to develop a long-term training program in Russia, will be leading sessions on financial management and the PEARLS financial monitoring system together with Peteris Zeltins, WOCCU MIS Officer.

Credit unions in Russia use basic accounting software but lack cohesive financial management tools. WOCCU and RCUL have collaborated on translating the PEARLS system into Russian and incorporating Eastern European accounting methods. The short-term training in Louisiana provides a testing ground for expanding PEARLS throughout Russia. “The training not only serves to meet the immediate needs of a diverse group of RCUL members, but it will also help the league better tailor its training curriculum for credit union managers and board members throughout Russia,” Kalfayan pointed out. “LCUL’s hospitality and expertise bring RCUL a great step forward along its roadmap to strengthen and unify the Russian credit union system.”

Kalfayan noted that the LCUL workshops expand on training that the California Credit Union League offered to a group of credit union executives from Siberia last November.

Cochran, who has been working with WOCCU and RCUL to develop a permanent training program in Russia, will be a presenter at the upcoming Eastern European Technical Congress, September 10-12, in Moscow.

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