Washington, DC—Delegates from the Nicaraguan Central Services Organization (CSO) and the Maryland and DC Credit Union Association (MDDCCUA) met in Maryland and Washington, DC, June 14-19, to renew their partnership commitment and discuss future goals.
CSO and the former DC Credit Union League established a partnership through the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) International Partnerships program in 2002. The visit marked the first meeting between CSO and the new MDDCCUA since the DC and Maryland credit union leagues merged last year.
To kick off the visit, Juan Altamirano, CSO CEO, and German Membreno, CSO Vice Chairman and CEO of Dinamica Credit Union, attended the MDDCCUA Annual Meeting and Convention. They were among 700 credit union board members and managers that came together to discuss challenges faced by credit unions.
MDDCCUA CEO Michael Beall, who hosted the visit with Sarah Turner, MDDCCUA Vice President of Strategic Alliances, explained, “The topics covered during this convention—growth, governance and expanding services—are challenges both MDDCUA and CSO face. Through the partnership exchange, we can overcome these challenges together.”
Altamirano and Membreno were especially interested in the sessions related to shared branching. Credit unions in Nicaragua have a manual shared branching system in which transactions are verified by telephone and fax. CSO’s goal is to computerize the system so that credit unions can process shared branching transactions in real time.
Altamirano left the convention encouraged. “It is wonderful to know that there are people in the MDDCCUA with technical knowledge that they are ready to share. This is more valuable to us than money,” he said.
Following the convention, Altamirano and Membreno spent two days visiting credit unions, including MECU in Baltimore and PAHO/WHO Federal Credit Union, ACCESO and District Government Employees Federal Credit Union in DC. They discussed topics ranging from committee policies, community outreach, operations and marketing to shared branching and remittances.
Membreno noted, “This partnership visit has given me the opportunity to exchange ideas with other credit unions and learn about innovative practices. I have so much to talk about with the credit unions when I get back to Nicaragua.”
The partnership visit concluded with a discussion of future activities and goals. In July, MDDCCUA will send two volunteers to Nicaragua to provide training on nominating committee and governance best practices. In coming years, MDDCCUA will provide technical assistance to CSO on shared branching, and CSO will work with credit unions in DC and Maryland to enhance outreach to immigrant groups.
Reflecting on the visit, Turner said, “This partnership epitomizes the cooperative spirit of credit unions. We can learn from each other to provide better services to our members in both countries.”
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 105 países atienden a 217 millones de personas. Obtenga más información sobre el impacto global del Consejo Mundial en www.woccu.org.