MADISON, Wis. — Up to 40 young credit union professionals from the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and the United States will benefit from education and networking opportunities through a new program offered by World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU).
The Professional Fellows Program, funded in part by a grant from the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, will enable 10 young professionals each from the Dominican Republic and Guatemala to interact with 20 of their counterparts from the U.S. states of Iowa and North Carolina. The new 18-month, US$386,000 program will allow participants to pursue ways their credit unions can better serve members.
"We are very excited to be able to offer this program for the first time," said Brian Branch, WOCCU president and CEO. "Our ongoing mission has been to facilitate exchanges between credit unions from various countries. This grant will help us reach farther in fulfilling this mission."
The program is designed to facilitate idea exchanges, promote foreign language skills and cultural diversity and improve problem-solving skills as they relate to credit union development and management on a global basis. In addition, participants will focus on finding new ways to attract younger members to credit unions in participating countries.
Participants will travel to partnering countries as part of the educational exchanges, with four visits scheduled between June 2012 and January 2013. Part of the U.S. participants' experience will include a study of Hispanic cultures to more effectively serve Hispanic members back home.
In addition to WOCCU, participating organizations include the Asociación de Instituciones Rurales de Ahorro y Crédito (AIRAC), which represents rural credit unions in the Dominican Republic, and the Federación Nacional de Cooperativas de Ahorro y Crédito (FENACOAC), Guatemala's national credit union trade association. U.S. participant groups include Credit Union National Association (CUNA), the North Carolina Credit Union League (NCCUL), the Iowa Credit Union League (ICUL) and Coopera Consulting, ICUL's subsidiary focused on serving Hispanic credit union members in the United States. AIRAC, FENACOAC and CUNA are WOCCU members.
The program operates in conjunction with WOCCU's International Partnerships Program, but the funding allows WOCCU to focus on the needs of younger credit union participants, according to Victor Miguel Corro, vice president of WOCCU's Worldwide Foundation for Credit Union who also oversees the partnerships program.
"The Professional Fellows Program will enable us to add a new dimension to the educational and networking services we provide to the global credit union movement," Corro said. "The program also supports our initiative of improving people's lives through credit unions."
For more information about participating in the program, contact Corro at +1-608-395-2047 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 103 countries serve 208 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.