LATHAM, N.Y.—In August 2005, the New York State Credit Union League (NYSCUL) and the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) began an initiative to allow cooperativas in Puerto Rico to become members of the NYSCUL. During a gathering on the Caribbean island earlier this month, Luis López, president of Abraham Rosa Cooperativa, made credit union history when he announced that his cooperativa will become the first NYSCUL associate member from Puerto Rico under the new partnership arrangement.
"I look forward to this next step in our partnership with the New York League," said López. "I am confident that the league and our credit union will both benefit from this enhanced relationship."
The new associate membership approach was the result of the partnership program that initially brought the League and Puerto Rican credit unions together. It is the first partnership allowing a credit union from the partner organization to enjoy league membership as an outcome.
"It is very rewarding seeing Puerto Rico and New York credit union systems cooperating," said Victor Miguel Corro, manager of WOCCU's International Partnerships program, which oversees 28 such partnerships. "In the end, it's the member who we worry about and they are the focus of this partnership."
The meeting also marked another milestone—the expansion of the partnership to include credit unions in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Thirty-two individuals representing 23 credit unions from Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and St. Croix participated in the meeting. The league, represented by senior vice president Michael Lanotte, provided education sessions on current compliance topics, including ID theft, business continuity planning and third-party vendor due diligence. Marc Inger, chief operating officer of UsNet, introduced the shared branching concept, while Dirck Van Deusen, corporate relations senior vice president for Members United Corporate Federal Credit Union, offered an overview of corporate credit unions.
"We couldn't be happier with the growth and expansion that has occurred as a result of this unique partnership," said Lanotte. "It becomes more evident as the partnership develops that both partners are learning from one another. The league provides a level of specific credit union operational and technical support, while the credit unions, based on the manner in which they approach serving their members and working with others, provide a blueprint on how the credit union philosophy can be lived on a daily basis."
The New York State Credit Union League (NYSCUL) has served as the trade association for the state's credit unions for 91 years. It is the fifth-largest league in the country. New York credit unions have assets of more than $39 billion and 4.2 million members. To learn more about the League, visit www.nyscul.org.