Madison, WI-The Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA) and the Barbados Cooperative and Credit Union League (BCCUL) signed a formal commitment to mutual knowledge exchange and assistance, becoming the newest members of the World Council of Credit Unions Inc. (WOCCU) International Partnership program.
Started in 2000, the program couples credit unions from developing countries with those in the United States. A hugely successful program, it has grown to include sixteen partnerships from countries as wide-ranging as Rwanda, Uzbekistan, Ecuador and Macedonia.
WOCCU has high hopes that this new pairing will prove to be as great a success as the others, which have seen fruitful knowledge exchange, dramatic restructuring of organizational and monitoring systems and, in Kenya, the drafting of entirely new legislation to support credit unions. Victor Corro, WOCCU project specialist for Latin America stated, "It's always inspiring to see new partnerships willing to work together towards the common goal of helping members."
The agreement was signed halfway through a four- day visit by MCUA representatives to the island that included a trip to BCCUL's largest credit union, a meeting with their board president Ashton Turney and general manager Anthony Pilgrim, and national media coverage there.
In addition, MCUA's Don Cohenour, senior vice president of credit union development, hosted an asset liability management workshop for board members from approximately twelve credit unions. Joining Cohenour from MCUA was Rosie Holub, chief executive officer and president, and Hal James, chairman and credit union president.
"We had a very productive visit," reported James. "There are many similarities between credit unions in Barbados and in the USA. Their members' needs and the competition they face from other financial institutions is virtually the same as what our credit unions deal with." James continued, "The partnership we have created has the potential to significantly improve the ability of all Barbadian credit unions to continue strong growth and meet the financial needs of their members continued The partnership we have created has the potential to significantly improve the ability of all Barbadian credit unions to continue strong growth and meet the financial needs of their members."
Holub shared, "The trip was an opportunity for us to learn more about league and credit union operations in Barbados. We were able to visit the league (BCUL) and several credit unions to determine how we can mutually benefit from our partnership."
The partnership has four main goals for strengthening the Barbados system: providing members with affordable credit and debit cards, establishing a reliable ATM system, creating a shared branching organizational structure and improving public and legislative advocacy for credit unions.
Particularly in terms of shared branching, Missouri will provide an excellent model for Barbados, since MCUA's system is highly developed in this area. BCCULL also hopes to gain from observing the inner workings of MCUA's cards system.
Regarding legislative advocacy, the credit union movement in Barbados already enjoys a uniquely close, positive relationship with its government. Because both credit union leagues are strong in this area, knowledge exchange will be truly mutual, exemplifying the International Partnership program at its best. The next activity of the partnership will take place in Missouri from September 27 to October 2.
El Consejo Mundial de Cooperativas de Ahorro y Crédito es la asociación gremial y agencia de desarrollo para el sistema internacional de cooperativas de ahorro y crédito. El Consejo Mundial promueve el crecimiento sustentable de las cooperativas de ahorro y crédito y otras cooperativas financieras en todo el mundo a fin de facultar a las personas para que mejoren su calidad de vida a través del acceso a servicios financieros asequibles y de alta calidad. El Consejo Mundial realiza esfuerzos de defensa activa en representación del sistema global de las cooperativas de ahorro y crédito ante organizaciones internacionales y trabaja con gobiernos nacionales para mejorar la legislación y la regulación. Sus programas de asistencia técnica introducen nuevas herramientas y tecnologías para fortalecer el desempeño financiero de las cooperativas de ahorro y crédito y profundizar su alcance comunitario.
El Consejo Mundial ha implementado 290 programas de asistencia técnica en 71 países. A nivel mundial, 57,000 cooperativas de ahorro y crédito en 103 países atienden a 208 millones de personas. Obtenga más información sobre el impacto global del Consejo Mundial en www.woccu.org.