Minnesotans Address AGM in Paraguay, Meet with Regulator
MnCUN's Dana Hofmann-Geye presents INCOOP President Antonio Ortiz Guanes with gifts from Minnesota. Bill Raker (left) of US Federal Credit Union and Victor Corro (back) of WOCCU joined her, along with the INCOOP Board of Directors.
ASUNCIÓN, Paraguay—Nearly two
after visitors from the Paraguayan credit union
organization Central de Cooperativas del Area
Nacional Ltda. (CENCOPAN) attended the Minnesota
Credit Union Network (MnCUN) Annual Meeting,
credit union representatives from Minnesota
returned the favor.
Two Minnesota credit union professionals and
representative from the World Council of Credit
Unions (WOCCU) traveled to Paraguay May 27-31 to
attend CENCOPAN's International Credit Union
Conference and 12th anniversary celebration.
Raker, President of US Federal Credit Union,
Hofmann-Geye, MnCUN Executive Vice President &
General Counsel, and Victor Corro, WOCCU's
Manager of International Partnerships, spoke at
the conference, met with Paraguay's credit union
regulator and board of directors, and toured
credit unions during their brief visit.
MnCUN and CENCOPAN were paired through
International Partnership Program in 2004. The
two credit union organizations have carried out
number of activities in the past three years,
most recently conducting a credit union employee
exchange program in April 2006.
"It is my honor and privilege to have the
opportunity for the third consecutive year to
represent Minnesota credit unions at this
International Conference," said Raker, who is
also a member of the MnCUN Board of
Directors. "Regulation is one of the key areas
which we are able to assist the Paraguayans, and
CENCOPAN and their regulator are both very
appreciative of the attention and assistance we
have been able to provide."
On May 29 the group met with Paraguay's
union co-op regulator, Instituto Nacional de
Cooperativismo (INCOOP). INCOOP President
Ortiz Guanes and the other four individuals on
its board of directors attended the meeting. The
group discussed the importance of the
and the technology assessment performed by WOCCU
and Minnesota credit unions in October 2004.
Thanks in part to that assessment two years
the Paraguayan government applied for and is
expected receive a large loan from the Inter-
American Development Bank. Funds will likely be
disbursed to a number of public entities
throughout the country. Any money allotted to
INCOOP will be used to strengthen technology and
the regulation of credit unions.
The group discussed the potential of
an exchange between INCOOP and the Minnesota
Department of Commerce or the National Credit
Union Administration (NCUA).
"An exchange of this magnitude would be very
important to the credit unions of Paraguay and
a perfect example of the great things that can
accomplished through partnerships of this sort,"
Hofmann-Geye said, acknowledging that the idea
still very much in a conceptual phase. "To
provide a format for our regulators to exchange
ideas and learn from one another could have
The CENCOPAN International Credit Union
Conference took place May 30-31, with 300 in
attendance. All three visitors from the U.S.
presentations. Raker talked about strategic
planning and its importance to credit unions.
Corro spoke on WOCCU's International Partnership
Program and highlighted the successes of its 23
various partnerships around the world. Hofmann-
Geye discussed the role of lobbying in the
success of the U.S. credit union Movement. She
emphasized the benefits of a three-pronged
approach to political involvement, including
lobbyists, grassroots involvement and
contributions to political action committees.
"This particular relationship between
and Paraguayan credit unions is one of the more
active partnerships, as is illustrated by the
great deal of activities," Corro said. "The fact
that both sides have already attended and spoken
at each other's annual general meetings is proof
of the commitment and the progress being
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, 51,000 credit unions in 100 countries serve 196 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.
Contact: Kristina Wright
Organization: Minnesota Credit Union Network
Phone: (651) 288-5170, (800) 477