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24 de julio de 2005

Opening Day Bodes Well for Success of Inaugural Conference

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(Rome, Italy) - Today in Rome, Italy, credit union leaders from around the world convened for the first combination International Leadership Institute and triennial Forum that World Council of Credit Unions, Inc. (WOCCU) has ever attempted, the World Credit Union Conference. As the successful opening day of the inaugural Conference concludes, the forecast for this ambitious experiment looks sunny. WOCCU's four-day conference plan pulls together the best elements of each of its two biggest meetings to form the premiere gathering of credit union people in the world, with 1,124 professionals from 41 countries attending this year.

With many of this year's participants former attendees of WOCCU's Leadership Institutes, WOCCU opted to retain the ceremonial welcome features of the past, such as the Flag Ceremony and the International Welcome Reception. Gary Plank of the US, WOCCU board 1st vice chair, acted as master of ceremonies, kicking off an enjoyable evening. Canada's L.R. "Bobby" McVeigh, WOCCU board chair, gave the official welcome, encouraging participants to "share the good, share the bad," and try to learn from one another. Two Italian hosts, president of FEDERCASSE Alessandro Azzi and general manager of ICCREA Luigi Dante, each gave welcomes of their own before exchanging gifts and handshakes with Plank and McVeigh.

As in other years, participants became acquainted with the meeting's host country and one another not only through this formal welcome ceremony, but also through a Discover Rome Orientation and Tour earlier in the day. The younger professionals present had the chance to mingle on their own, in the first of several WYCUP events leading up to the awards presentation on closing night. WYCUP, or the WOCCU Young Credit Union People Scholarship, allows WOCCU to nurture up- and-coming talent by presenting five hard-working credit union professionals under 35 with free entry to the following year's international meeting. Throughout the Conference, all nominees and last year's winners will have the chance to network and learn together.

Another highlight of the day was the Regulator's Roundtable, a unique discussion between credit union regulators from around the world. WOCCU initiated the Roundtable only two years ago, seeing the necessity for a meeting of the minds within this specialized niche of the credit union industry. The event continues to grow in popularity.

After a day of stimulating events for everyone, the first World Credit Union Conference is in full swing, and both participants and organizers are looking forward to three enjoyable and fulfilling days. The official program of break-out sessions and general sessions commences tomorrow and runs until Wednesday, July 27.

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

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