LIMA, Peru — A total of 177 attendees from nine countries last week traveled to Lima, Peru to attend the World Council of Credit Unions’ (WOCCU’s) Latin American Members Forum. The two-day event, held Oct. 19-20, convenes annually to provide education and networking opportunities for WOCCU’s Latin American members. In addition, this year 29 participants also participated in advanced training classes through WOCCU’s inaugural Managers Certification Program, which ran concurrently with the event.
Participants included a cross-section of staff and boards from 62 credit unions and trade groups, WOCCU staff and members of the WOCCU board. The roster included Chairman Melvin Edwards, board member of the Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions; 2nd Vice Chairman Manuel Rabines, CEO of the National Federation of Credit Unions of Peru (FENACREP), the event’s co-host organization; Director Anne Cochran, president of the Louisiana Credit Union League; and Director Alcenor Pagnussatt, head of SICREDI Servicos, Brazil. In addition to the United States, attendees came from the Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador Guatemala, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Peru.
“Here in Latin America and the Caribbean, we have more than 3,200 credit unions serving over 16 million members, and we’re growing,” Edwards told participants during his opening remarks. “Latin America is a leader in worldwide growth, with credit union membership increasing by 185 percent over the past five years and consolidated assets growing by an impressive 530 percent during that time. You should all be proud.”
General session topics included financial ratings, international shared branching, the growth of telecenters, employee retention through use of incentives and remittances. Cochran presented a session on surviving a disaster, chronicling how the Louisiana League weathered Hurricane Katrina. The New York Credit Union League’s Mike Lanotte offered a case study on the operations of a developed credit union movement. Kurt Lykins, head of technology for Corporate One Federal Credit Union, Columbus, Ohio, gave an overview of credit union technology. Lykins, a frequent WOCCU volunteer, will also be hosting the 2008 Corporate Operations Forum in Mexico.
Participants in the Managers Certification Program discussed financial analysis, credit administration, policy and procedures and savings mobilization prior to taking an exam to mark their completion of the two-day program. The new program is based on the model of the Western CUNA Management School, which has contributed to the curriculum development.
In the spirit of sharing, Cochran brought items to raffle and a shipment of clothing donated by Louisiana Federal Credit Union, LaPlace, La., for Peruvian credit union managers to distribute to their members in need. In addition, she also brought Louisiana Credit Union League t-shirts for all 177 attendees.
The 2008 Latin American Members Forum will be held in Guatemala. Other regional conferences are held annually in Africa, Asia and Europe.
World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development agency for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.
World Council has implemented more than 290 technical assistance programs in 71 countries. Worldwide, 57,000 credit unions in 105 countries serve 217 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.