MCUN Visits Paraguay for Second Step of International Partnership
ASUNCION, Paraguay—For the second step of
World Council of Credit Unions' (WOCCU)
International Partnership between Paraguay's
credit union organization, the Central de
Coopertivas del Area Nacional (CENCOPAN), and
Minnesota Credit Union Network (MCUN), four MCUN
leaders visited Asuncion, Paraguay May 23-29 to
attend CENCOPAN's annual international
and 10th anniversary celebration.
International Partnerships, (formerly known
the People to People Partnership Program) a
Council of Credit Unions program, pairs U.S.
credit union networks with those of developing
nations to promote mutual growth and knowledge
exchange. WOCCU vice president and chief
operating officer Brian Branch, program
specialist Victor Corro, and Credit Union
National Association (CUNA) manager of
legislative affairs Katie Herberger joined the
Minnesotan credit union leaders to observe the
partnership in action.
MCUN board chair Bill Raker opened the
international conference with a speech on the
importance of legislative and regulatory support
for credit unions, including a credit union tax
exemption. Raker toke advantage of the
opportunity to educate the 450 attendees on the
similarities between credit unions in the U.S.
and Paraguay. He also discussed the need for
legislators and regulators to support credit
unions because of the benefits they provide to
their members, communities and countries.
"There is strength in unity; therefore, it is
that you all join together and continue to work
together for the common good," Raker said in his
address. "We are committed to the social aspect
of our mission to serve the underserved and to
help them improve and sustain their financial
well-being. We witness your commitment to this
mission, as well."
MCUN executive vice president and general
Dana Hofmann-Geye also spoke, in Spanish, on the
U.S. credit union system, its structure, legal
and regulatory framework. Board secretary and
treasurer Dick Nesvold, along with board member
Dean Nelson were also present.
In the days prior to the conference, MCUN
had the opportunity to inform government
officials directly about the importance of
supporting the credit union movement and the
International Partnership. On May 25, they
presented a letter to vice president Luis
Castiglioni from Minnesota governor Tim
expressing Pawlenty's belief that the
between MCUN and CENCOPAN "can have a positive
and lasting effect on the lives of Paraguay's
credit union members."
The following day, the Minnesotans discussed
President of Congress Mateo Balmelli the
significance of cooperatives to the economy and
individuals. MCUN members also met with credit
union regulator Antonio Ortiz, President of
Instituto Nacional de Cooperativismo (INCOOP),
experiencing the mutually informative potential
of the International Partnership program
firsthand. As Nesvold remarked, "being able to
meet with regulators from Paraguay allowed me to
look at our own regulators in a different
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.