Credit union executives from SICREDI, a financial cooperative group in Brazil, wrapped up their three-week tour in Texas Friday as part of a partnership program with the Texas Credit Union League.
The group of 13 mid- and upper-management staff was chosen to participate in the learning experience--a key initiative of the new World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) international partnership program between the league and SICREDI, the league said. "This is our 26th international partnership," said Victor Miguel Corro, WOCCU senior manager of international partnerships. "Typically our partnerships are between developed and emerging movements, but this one is between two very strong and developed credit union systems."
During the visit, the group "shadowed" staff at credit unions in Houston, Dallas and Fort Worth to garner a deeper and expansive knowledge of how credit unions in the U.S. operate.
The SICREDI executives focused learning on leveraging technology, enhancing financial education outreach, improving operational efficiencies, and using new and innovative tools to spur membership development. Also, the SICREDI group received English language instruction. Language is one of the key aspects of that development.
Texas credit unions that participated in the immersion program are:
* Energy Capital CU, Houston;
* Smart Financial CU, Houston;
* PrimeWay FCU, Houston;
* People's Trust FCU, Houston;
* InTouch CU, Dallas;
* American Airlines CU, Fort Worth;
* Resource One CU, Dallas;
* Neighborhood CU, Dallas;
* Unity One CU, Fort Worth; and
* EECU, Fort Worth.
"During our visit we had the opportunity to share best practices between our organizations, and as we began our dialogue, we found that many parallels exist between our organizations," said Randall Dixon, president/CEO of Energy Capital CU. "Many of the similarities related to internal and external services, as well as board governance and organization development." "Although we're in different countries, using different systems, and serving different cultures, the process of delivering service excellence is the same for everyone," said Kent Lugrand, president/CEO of InTouch CU.
SICREDI is one of the major cooperative systems in Latin America, with 12,000 employees, 1.6 million members and more than 1,000 service centers. It has a unified brand and standard policies, procedures and bylaws. Despite their shared identity, SICREDI cooperatives are still unique and local, just like credit unions in the U.S. The leaders of both entities, Dick Ensweiler, league president/CEO, and Manfred Dasenbrock, chair of SICREDI's holding company, say they are confident that the success of this first joint initiative will set the stage for a fruitful and long-lasting partnership.
Both understand the significance of the international partnerships program because each plays a role in international development, the league said. Ensweiler chairs the Credit Union National Association's World Leadership Development Committee, and Dasenbrock serves on the World Council's board of directors.