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2006 Partnerships Annual Report


International Partnerships Program Activity in 2006

WOCCU’s international partnerships program grew in 2006 with the addition of three new partnerships: Iowa/Panama, British Columbia/Hong Kong and Costa Rica/Alabama. First steps were also taken by six other pairs: Vermont/Peru, Florida/Brazil, Wisconsin/Dominican Republic, Oregon (Northwest Corporate FCU)/Belize, Arizona/Antigua & Barbuda, North Carolina/Caja Morelia Valladolid (Mexico). By the end of 2007, the program could potentially have 28 formal partnerships (from 12 in 2004). Further, WOCCU has approached and otherwise has received interest from the Virginia, South Carolina, Idaho and North Dakota leagues. Countries seeking a partnership include Russia, Guatemala, Malawi and Colombia.

The trend toward sophisticated technical exchanges is virtually the norm in all partnerships. With increased interest in international transactions and technology-driven operations in credit unions, many U.S. League partners are now playing a key role when working with WOCCU to provide operational expertise and to offer experienced advice in information technology requirements to developing partners. Eighty-two percent (82%) of all partnerships conducted a major exchange defined as conference, technical internship or learning session.

The program has received increased media attention in the United States. Several articles, press releases and other communications were published in both the trade and mainstream press. Of all press releases generated by WOCCU in 2006, 25% were directly related to partnership activities.WOCCU has used these relationships to showcase how credit unions can lead the globalization of today's economies in a way that perfects the services to members and improves their ability to increase their income, build wealth and improve financial literacy.

One of the highlights of the year was the announcement made by the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) bestowing the United States credit union movement’s highest honor on a partnership benefiting credit unions in the U.S. and Mexico. The World Council, the California-Nevada Credit Union League and the Texas Credit Union League, in partnership with Caja Popular Mexicana, earned the 2005 Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Outstanding Program. The Award was given during CUNA’s GAC in February 2006.

Another important event was the 2nd International Partnerships Briefing and Hike the Hill on October 20 in Arlington, Virginia. Twenty-six credit union leaders from United States leagues and World Council shared the progress of their individual partnerships and used the meeting as a forum for best practices.During the briefing, participants discussed how to convey partnership benefits to their constituents, how to make partnerships more inclusive, what works in the program and what can be improved.

The department goal continues to be making the partnerships as effective as possible. Partners work with WOCCU to conduct planning sessions to set annual goals and work plans for their partnerships. Periodically, each partnership conducts a feedback session to measure work plan effectiveness so priorities and activities are continually evaluated and realigned. This assures that the partnership remains focused and both partners feel that their relationship adds value to their mission.

As of December 2006, WOCCU’s international partnerships portfolio consisted of 22 active partnerships and 6 progressing toward formal agreements.

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