Wegner Award to Recognize International Partnership: WOCCU, California and Texas Leagues with Mexico's Largest Credit Union
NCUF Sees Partnership Benefiting Credit Unions in U.S. and Mexico
Information technology experts from TCUL, CCUL, WOCCU and Caja Popular Mexicana pose for a photo in Leon, Mexico.
Washington, D.C. – The National Credit Union
Foundation (NCUF) will bestow the credit union
movement's highest honor on a partnership
benefiting credit unions in the U.S. and Mexico.
The World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), the
California Credit Union League and the Texas
Credit Union League, in partnership with Caja
Popular Mexicana, have earned the Herb Wegner
Memorial Award for Outstanding Program.
The partnership began in 2001 as Mexico's largest
credit union was struggling with nearly 20%
delinquency, annual net losses, and members losing
confidence in the safety of their deposits. The
next four years brought countless cultural
exchanges, site visits, infrastructure
improvements, new product developments and
financial education programs.
The financial results are astounding. From Dec.
2001 to June 2005, the credit union:
- Reduced delinquency from 18.7% to
- Built assets from $472 million to $1
- Achieved positive returns on assets
- Increased membership by 83%, from 477,396
- Grew youth savings accounts by 2005%, from
"This international partnership has essentially
transformed Caja Popular Mexicana into a modern,
progressive financial institution," observed
Victor Miguel Corro, WOCCU's international
partnerships manager. "Together all these
entities made a difference and now offer a very
safe place for Caja Popular Mexicana's members to
trust their deposits. The positive impact is
especially evident in rural areas where banks have
no interest in providing services because there
are no profits to be made."
Just as compelling as the financial results are
the human benefits that stretch across borders.
The partnership helped to bring U.S. Congressional
staffers to Mexico to meet members whose lives
were touched by the credit union. "The staffers
were convinced that helping credit unions through
legislation expanding their scope of service is
worthy," Corro reported. "When these officials
left Mexico, there was no doubt in their minds
that there exists a credit union difference. As
the staffers put it, 'We don't see banks having
these types of relationships.'"
Another benefit to U.S. credit unions is a better
understanding of how to serve Hispanics. "Credit
union officials in California and Texas have
learned about the Hispanic market and are now
better equipped to embrace them as new credit
union members," Corro explained.
"This partnership helped spread the credit union
values of cooperation and volunteerism," agreed
Montana Credit Union Network President Tracie
Kenyon, who chairs NCUF's Awards & Recognition
Committee. "It fostered goodwill between credit
union officials in the U.S. and Mexico, created
awareness of different cultures, and strengthened
the local community through innovative outreach
For example, the partners encouraged Caja Popular
Mexicana to institute a Social Projects Fund and
launch a far-reaching program that motivates
members to volunteer for community service,
including assisting group homes that welcome
"This partnership fully highlights the credit
union philosophy in the spirit of the Herb Wegner
Memorial Awards," Kenyon concluded.
This is the first of three prestigious awards to
be celebrated at the Herb Wegner Memorial Awards
Dinner at the Hilton Washington on Feb. 26, 2006.
Next week, NCUF will announce the recipient of the
Herb Wegner Memorial Individual Achievement Award.
The following week, NCUF will announce the
recipient of the Herb Wegner Memorial Lifetime
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.
Contact: Steve Bosack
Organization: National Credit Union Foundation, Inc.