Results Of Meetings Between Prospective International Partners Promising
Madison, WI—After the success of a recent
between representatives from the New York State
Union League (NYSCUL) and a number of Puerto
financial cooperatives, it seems likely that the
World Council of Credit Unions, Inc. (WOCCU) will
soon see its first International Partnership
between a US state league and a US territory.
Three NYSCUL leaders, president and CEO
Mellin, board chairman John Gibardi, and NYCUF
director Diane LaVigna Wixted; one representative
from Empire Corporate Federal Credit Union,
vice president of corporate relations
Dirck Van Deusen; and WOCCU International
Partnership manager Victor Corro made the trip to
San Juan, Puerto Rico from November 8-11 to
informally jumpstart the partnership.
During the visit, LaVigna Wixted and
Deusen gave presentations on the services offered
by NYSCUL and Empire Corporate to representatives
Puerto Rican cooperatives, or credit unions.
Representatives also had the
opportunity to meet with the major Puerto Rican
regulatory body, COSSEC. Aside from
these few structured events, the implicit goal of
trip was to establish a relationship between
Puerto Rico and New York that will lay the
groundwork for the new partnership. On all
fronts, the trip was a success.
"I observed great camaraderie and a lot of
interest on both sides," said WOCCU's
representative, Victor Corro. He explained that
the many similarities between Puerto Rico's
credit union system and that of the US make the
collaboration extremely viable. The Puerto
Rican system is highly developed, well regulated
and has evolved parallel to the US
system. With 140 native credit unions and a
strong federal credit union, Puerto Rico is an
ideal position to both benefit from and offer
much to a Partnership.
LaVigna Wixted also noted the
potential, calling Puerto Rico a "unique case"
because of its status as a US
territory. "Puerto Rico is subject to the same
rules and regulations we are," she explained,
that because of that, there are "exciting
opportunities" to work together on everything
from federal advocacy to human resource issues.
"Given the large Puerto Rican population that
exists in New York State, there is a commonality
between Puerto Rico and New York," added
Mellin. "I believe that building a relationship
through WOCCU's partnership program would be
multifaceted and mutually beneficial. The
opportunity for us to make our core services
accessible to their credit unions through this
type of association also speaks directly to the
heart of the 'people helping people' credit union
In the next step towards official partnership
status, Puerto Rican ambassadors will travel to
Albany, New York this spring. While there, they
will have the opportunity
to learn more about their areas of interest.
NYSCUL and WOCCU hope
the visit will culminate in the signing of a
formal partnership agreement.
On the goals of the prospective partnership,
WOCCU's Corro said, "I see education and
compliance as the focus of the initial
activities," adding that these details would be
discussed in coming months. For now, all parties
are pleased with the results of the
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, 56,000 credit unions in 101 countries serve 200 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.