2019 World Credit Union Conference Opens in The Bahamas

Over 2,100 attendees from 61 countries converge on Atlantis Resort

July 28, 2019

NASSAU—World Council of Credit Unions welcomed thousands of credit union professionals to Atlantis Resort for the opening ceremonies of the 2019 World Credit Union Conference (WCUC)—which included a Sunday keynote speaker for the first time in the event’s history.

World Council Board Chair Steve Stapp presided over the traditional parade of flags—and a cultural tribute with music from the Bahamian Police Band. He also welcomed Dr. Hubert A. Minnis, Prime Minister of The Bahamas, as the evening’s guest of honor.

Stapp, who also serves as President and CEO of Unitus Community Credit Union in Portland, Oregon, told attendees digitization is the focus of WCUC 2019.

“No doubt, the entire financial services sector is at an important crossroads. In this conference, you will learn about the best practices, new trends, and how credit unions are connecting their members, not only to perform financial transactions, but to also provide commerce—members to members—and the creation of social platforms to create a positive community impact,” said Stapp.

Keynote speaker and master of ceremonies

Connie Dieken, founder of Influence360˚ and The Dieken Group—a strategic advisory firm to C-suite executives on five continents—gave the first Sunday keynote address in the history of the WCUC. She is also serving as master of ceremonies for the entire conference. She spoke about the need for credit unions to become influencers in the financial service industry..

“Why is influence so important? Because influencers shape the future, whereas persuaders maintain the status quo. So, I ask you—how are you leading?," asked Dieken, who helps senior leaders at the world’s biggest brands influence positive change during their organizations’ defining moments.

She shared the three most important habits attendees can employ to influence change with their teams and members to help move their credit unions forward: 

  • Connect
  • Convey
  • Convince

Dieken then asked attendees to identify a positive change they can influence in their credit unions and walked them through the process of making it happen.

2019 Distinguished Service Award

World Council also presented two Distinguished Service Awards (DSA)—the industry's top global honor for worthy individuals and organizations that have shown great contributions to further the credit union movement outside of their own countries. World Council recognized one individual and one organization as the 2019 DSA winners.

Sylvester Kadzola received the award for his exemplary service to the international credit union movement. Kadzola sat on the World Council Board of Directors from 2001 to 2016 as a member of the Kenyan Union of Savings and Credit Co-Operatives (KUSCCO) Ltd. Kadzola used his position on the World Council Board to lead and stimulate the development of African credit union systems by connecting them with international best practices. Fumbani Nyangulu, acting CEO of the Malawi Union of Savings and Credit Co-Operatives (MUSCCO) Ltd., accepted the award on behalf of Kadzola, who is in Kenya recovering from surgery.

A second Distinguished Service Award went to the Organization of Cooperatives (OCB) of Brazil for its work in supporting international networking to advance credit unions locally and internationally. OCB has sponsored credit unions around the globe through education and learning experiences. OCB President Marcio Lopes de Freitas was on hand to accept the award.  

Still to come

The 2019 World Credit Union Conference resumes Monday with a busy morning that includes:

  • State of the Movement address by World Council President and CEO Brian Branch
  • Keynote address by business futurist Patrick Schwerdtfeger
  • Breakout sessions on blockchain, central bank intervention and how the future of mobility will impact credit unions.

Follow conference activities and see daily event photos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with #WCUC2019.

The 2019 World Credit Union Conference is presented in collaboration with the Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions (CCCU). It runs through Wednesday, July 31.

World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development platform 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 300+ technical assistance programs in 89 countries. Worldwide, 85,400 credit unions in 118 countries serve 274 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at

Contact: Greg Neumann
Organization: World Council of Credit Unions
Phone: +1 608-395-2048
WOCCU Board Chair Steve Stapp
WOCCU Board Chair Steve Stapp
Connie Dieken
Connie Dieken
Sylvester Kadzola
Sylvester Kadzola

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