Minnesota tech staffer assesses Paraguay CUs, agency
CUNA NEWS NOW
Larry Miggler, vice president of information systems, Postal CU, met with general managers, information technology staff and members of Paraguayan credit unions including Cooperativa Nazareth Ltda. Here a security official escorts him in the credit union. (Photo provided by Minnesota Credit Union Network)
ASUNCION, Paraguay - Two credit union
technology experts traveled to Paraguay in
October to assess Paraguayan credit union trade
association Central de Cooperativas Nacionales
del Paraguay (CENCOPAN) and the country's credit
Larry Miggler, vice president of information
systems, Postal CU, Woodbury, Minn., and Steve
Schaefer, technical officer for Latin America and
the Caribbean, World Council of Credit Unions
Inc. (WOCCU), traveled to Paraguay Oct. 23-29.
CENCOPAN, four credit unions and the
Instituto Nacional de Cooperativismo (INCOOP),
Paraguay's regulator of credit unions and all
other cooperatives, were assessed by the duo.
Miggler and Schaefer presented a two-hour
workshop on the U.S. credit union movement's use
of technology at the end of the visit.
"This trip was a great opportunity for me to
go somewhere in the world and play a small part
in developing the credit union movement," Miggler
said. "It was interesting to visit another
country and find out how credit unions operate
7,500 miles away from home, and as it turns
out, they're run very much like they're run
The Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) and
CENCOPAN began developing a relationship in fall
2003 through WOCCU's Partnership Program.
Advancing technology in Paraguay is one of the
three main objectives that the two groups. The
Partnership Program provides funding for the
On the first day of the trip, Miggler and
Schaefer met with the employees of CENCOPAN to
learn about the organization and technology
overall in Paraguay.
They spent the next few days visiting
Mercado No. 4 Ltda., Cooperativa Universitaria
Ltda., Cooperativa Reducto Ltda. and Cooperativa
Nazareth Ltda. At each credit union, Miggler and
Schaefer talked with general managers,
information technology staff and members,
evaluating the general status and need of
Miggler said the biggest hurdles for country-
internet usage are slow connection speeds and
high cost, making it difficult for some
Paraguayan credit unions to justify the time and
expense. "In the U.S. there are hundreds of
technology vendors dedicated to credit unions,
and they don't appear to have as much
specialization in Paraguay," Miggler said, adding
that the implementation of new software
technology in Paraguay generally involves hiring
a programmer to do customization, which increases
Miggler and Schaefer also explored
other WOCCU initiatives such as shared branching
and the International Remittance Network (IRnet).
"We are thrilled with the Minnesota Credit
Network and the support they have given to
Paraguay," Schaefer said. "We see this as a very
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.
Organization: Minnesota Credit Union Network