Last week, representatives from World Council of Credit Unions, Inc. (WOCCU), Texas Credit Union League (TCUL) and its International Partner, Caja Popular Mexicana (CPM), traveled to Dallas, Texas to celebrate Neighborhood Credit Union's designation as the first Juntos Avanzamos credit union. West Texas Credit Union in El Paso and San Antonio City Employees Federal Credit Union also received Juntos Avanzamos flags in ceremonies last week.
TCUL and the Texas International Credit Union Relationship Committee launched the Juntos Avanzamos (Together We Advance) program – aimed at empowering Texas credit unions to serve their Hispanic market more effectively – in November of 2005. The league first identifies credit unions they believe have the "capacity to serve" and then channels its resources to these specific credit unions to grow their outreach programs. In order to earn the prestigious Juntos Avanzamos designation, credit unions must complete the capacity-to-serve application. The application is quite extensive, requiring information about what products and services the credit union offers to specifically address the needs of this market, as well as what the strategies are for serving this demographic group.
Texas is home to the second largest Hispanic population in the United States, representing about 32 percent of the state's population, according to the 2000 census. In 2002, TCUL partnered with CPM and the California Credit Union League (CCUL) through the WOCCU's International Partnership Program in an effort to learn how to better serve this largely unbanked population. Since that time, the partners have met a number of times to exchange ideas and tools that will enhance the services each of the parties provide to their members.
Upon earning their designation, Juntos Avanzamos credit unions receive 500 free copies of TCUL's Spanish-language brochure entitled Building a Financial Foundation for your Family, which outlines the path to financial freedom, from setting a budget and cash management to financial goals and homeownership. In addition, representatives from TCUL and CPM will present the credit union with a Juntos Avanzamos flag to fly at its doors to let the community know that it is a place they can receive friendly, affordable financial services.
Capacity-to-serve credit unions also have access to grant dollars through the Richard L. Ensweiler Fund. Credit unions can use these funds for programs such as financial education, home buying seminars, participation in Hispanic community events, etc. Finally, these credit unions will have access to educational materials, such as white papers, reports and training events offering guidance on how to best meet the needs of this emerging market.
"I envision this as a program that expands beyond Texas," says Linda Webb- Mañon, TCUL's communications director. "It takes all of us working together to succeed." WOCCU's International Partnerships manager, Victor Corro, adds, "The Texas, California, and Mexico partnership is just one of WOCCU's 19 International Partnerships that proves we can and will make a stronger international system through cooperation and collaboration."
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.