SLEEPY EYE, Minn. – Credit union visits were on the agenda Wednesday for the credit union representatives from CENCOPAN, a credit union trade association. St. Marys Federal Credit Union (SMFCU) in Sleepy Eye, Minn., welcomed the visitors for an afternoon of agricultural lending and technology discussions.
The four Paraguayans, along with an interpreter, are visiting Minnesota as part of their newly- formed relationship with the Minnesota Credit Union Network through of the World Council of Credit Unions, Inc. (WOCCU) Partnership Program. The group toured the credit union and visited Bruggeman Company, an implement dealership in Sleepy Eye that sells John Deere machinery and parts, and fixes equipment for area farmers.
"I was impressed with the good relationship that the credit union had with the dealership, allowing farmers to have better equipment," said Modesto Segovia Boltes of CENCOPAN.
CENCOPAN and its member credit unions are heavily involved in agriculture, as the credit unions in Paraguay fall under the umbrella of the Department of Agriculture. The main goal was to explain to the Paraguayans the process of Minnesota credit unions' agricultural lending programs and develop an understanding of our differences. "Credit unions in Minnesota finance fixed assets, like tractors, which is something we do not do in Paraguay," said Francisco Barceló García of CENCOPAN. "We mainly finance feed and fertilizer, but not large equipment." García said that such a key difference "opened his eyes" to additional services that credit unions may be able to offer to production cooperatives in their country.
Following the dealership visit, staff from SMFCU did various presentations on products and services, security systems, home banking and online check images.
"It was very interesting to see the similarities – overall, we all have the same issues but are just in different places," said Dick Nesvold, president & CEO of SMFCU. "We all do what we do for the betterment of our membership and the improvement of our communities, which is a predominant theme within Minnesota as well as other countries. It's very refreshing to hear."
On Wednesday morning the group visited Mid- States Corporate Federal Credit Union's Eagan, Minn., office. CENCOPAN, which is a both a trade association and a corporate credit union, learned about the U.S. corporate structure, investments and technology.
"I am most impressed by the technology that was shown that allows instant and constant communications among the Network, Mid-States Corporate and the credit unions themselves," said Pedro Loblein of CENCOPAN.
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, 56,000 cooperativas de ahorro y crédito en 101 países atienden a 200 millones de personas. Obtenga más información sobre el impacto global del Consejo Mundial en www.woccu.org.