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March 23, 2004

Paraguayan CU Association to Make First Trip to Minnesota

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BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – As the first step toward establishing a relationship with the Minnesota Credit Union Network, the Paraguayan credit union association CENCOPAN will be sending four individuals on a trip to Minnesota March 22-26. The Network has been developing this relationship since fall of 2003 through the World Council of Credit Unions' (WOCCU's) "Partnership Program." This visit will be the first meeting of the two organizations, who will sign an agreement formalizing their commitment to the partnership program, and develop a cooperative work plan that defines specific objectives for this effort.

CENCOPAN, more formally known as the Central de Cooperativas Nacionales del Paraguay, was established in 1994. Today, CENCOPAN represents 24 credit unions throughout the country of Paraguay, most recently working with its member credit unions on implementing a new law that established a separate regulatory body for credit unions in Paraguay.

"Our relationship with CENCOPAN through WOCCU's partnership program is the perfect opportunity to exercise the credit union philosophy of 'People Helping People,'" said Dana Hofmann-Geye, Network Executive Vice President & General Counsel.

Four individuals from CENCOPAN will travel with an interpreter when visiting the Network next week:

  • Ramona Ríos Medina;
  • Francisco Barceló García;
  • Modesto Segovia Boltes; and
  • Pedro Loblein.
  • Three members of WOCCU will also be in Minnesota:

  • Arthur Arnold, President & CEO;
  • Brian Branch, Vice President & COO; and
  • Victor Miguel Corro, Program Specialist, Latin America & Caribbean.
  • The week-long visit will begin with an overview of the Network, with individual departments making presentations, including legal/regulatory compliance,governmental affairs, communications, education, technology and the Network Services Corporation. Also during the week, the Paraguayans will visit Mid-States Corporate Federal Credit Union's Minnesota office, tour three credit unions varying in size, location and product offerings, including US Federal Credit Union in Burnsville, St. Marys Federal Credit Union in Sleepy Eye, and Buckbee Mears Employees Credit Union in St. Paul. The group will also be attending a Minnesota Timberwolves basketball game at the Target Center.

    "The Network staff is very much looking forward to meeting with the group from CENCOPAN and discovering ways to work together," said Kevin, Network President & CEO. "It's an exciting challenge and opportunity for us to compare organizations and see how each can benefit the other."

    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, 60,500 credit unions in 109 countries serve 223 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at


    Contact: Kristina Wright
    Organization: Minnesota Credit Union Network
    Phone: (651) 288-5170, (800) 477
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