Costa Rican Credit Union Delegations Visit Alabama Credit Unions to Further Partnerships
(From left to right) Gadsden Mayor Sherman Guyton, Ron Summerall,
Alabama Teachers Credit Union CEO, Vinicio Fontana Jimenez, Filena
Urbina Cubero and City Councilman Bill Stewart at a breakfast held
Thursday at Alabama Teachers Credit Union in honor of the credit union
partnership with COOPENAE. No 1.
Birmingham, Ala. — Last week and this week,
four Alabama credit unions had the pleasure of
hosting delegations from Costa Rican credit unions
participating in the Alabama Credit Union League
(ACUL), FEDEAC (the Costa Rican credit union trade
association) and World Council of Credit Unions
(WOCCU) coordinated partnership, which enables
partner credit unions to learn about each other
and explore areas of common interest and
In addition to the ACUL’s partnership with FEDEAC,
the League is overseeing six direct CU-to-CU
partnerships between Alabama and Costa Rican
credit unions. Four of the six Costa Rican CU
partners visited with their respective Alabama
credit union partners: Alabama Teachers CU in
Gadsden, Ala. hosted COOPEANDE, R.L.; Community CU
in Gadsden, Ala. hosted COOPENAE, No 1; Family
Security CU in Decatur, Ala. is hosting
COOPESERVIDORES. R.L. this week; and the newest
Alabama partner, Valley CU in Tuscumbia, Ala.
hosted COOPEBANPO, R.L. Legacy Community FCU and
Mutual Savings CU of Birmingham, Ala. are also
participating in the partnership program, however,
their partners were unable to visit at this time.
“Credit unions are facing the same challenges
regardless of what country we do business in,”
said League CEO Gary B. Wolter. “The League is
extremely pleased to see this partnership
continuing to grow and expand as it provides
opportunities for cooperative endeavors and a
mutually beneficial exchange of information”.
The Alabama Credit Union League’s (ACUL)
partnership with the Costa Rican Credit Union
Movement and the World Council of Credit Unions
(WOCCU), was originally formed in August of 2005,
and has resulted in multiple trips back and forth
between the United States and Costa Rica.
The Mayor of Tuscumbia, Bill
Shoemaker (far right), presented members of the Costa Rican partnership
with keys to the City of Tuscumbia in honor of their visit to the city
and their credit union’s ongoing partnership with Valley Credit Union.
Pictured are: Thom Belekevich, WOCCU, Daniel Mora, General Manager of
COOPEBANPO, Hillard Sparks, manager, Valley Credit Union, Luis Carlos
Araya Villegas, IT Manager for COOPEBANPO and Tuscumbia Mayor Bill
“We were especially pleased that this trip came
during National Co-op Month and in the weeks
leading up to International Credit Union Day,”
said Wolter. “The partnership enables us to
showcase our movement and the cooperation between
countries. We have also had the opportunity to
discuss everything from shared branching,
electronic transactions, and marketing to the
efforts we make in reaching out within our
individual communities and furthering financial
“The partnership between Costa Rica and Alabama is
growing rapidly and I couldn't be more pleased.
The partnership is not only strengthening ACUL and
FEDEAC, but it has also grown to include direct
technical exchange among credit unions in both
countries, an ingredient that makes the
relationship stronger and more
inclusive...certainly two key strategic goals of
the program,” said WOCCU International
Partnerships Manager Victor Corro.
In addition to sharing credit union–specific
information, the delegations from the Costa Rican
credit unions had the opportunity to experience
the sights and tastes of Alabama. Two of the
delegations were able to visit the Space and
Rocket Center in Huntsville, and all of them were
treated to tours of their respective partners’
areas of the state. In addition, the delegations
have been featured in local newspapers and all
were treated to some of the best Alabama cuisine.
Coordinated by WOCCU and the Alabama Credit Union
League, the partnership enables selected credit
unions in Alabama to work with WOCCU and FEDEAC
R.L., the trade association for Costa Rica’s
credit unions, in identifying areas of cooperation
and then developing strategies for working
together to share information and specialties.
There are currently 70 active credit unions in
Costa Rica, serving 490,545 members.
The Alabama Credit Union League represents the
state's 168 credit unions and their 1.6 million
members. Credit unions are not-for-profit
financial institutions providing affordable
financial services to people from all walks of
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: Adena Whitman Zamora
Organization: League of Southeastern Credit Unions-AL
Phone: 800.846.8374 ext. 2132