Young Professional Exchange Kicks Off in Brazil

New generation of credit union leaders to engage at international event

May 20, 2019

CURITIBA, Brazil—SICREDI, the largest credit union system in Brazil, is hosting more than 150 young credit union professionals from across the Americas this week as part of World Council of Credit Unions’ (WOCCU) Young Professional Exchange Program.  

This new initiative is part of the World Council Young Credit Union Professionals (WYCUP) program—a platform for them to connect, share and live the credit union values of cooperation and people helping people. Both SICREDI employees and members also are taking part in the exchange. The wide range of roles represented promises to provide a variety of unique perspectives.

This international exchange kicks off with SICREDI’s 2nd Annual Youth Summit, a forum that will bring young professionals together to explore strategies for addressing the shared challenges facing financial cooperatives. Participants will learn how SICREDI’s powerful model for collaboration has expanded financial services and contributed to one of the fastest growing credit union movements in the world.

Summit sessions run May 21-22 and will provide a deep dive into the topics of diversity and inclusion, highlighting examples from participants of impactful initiatives in their credit unions and communities. That will include a panel discussion featuring perspectives from women and refugees, and disabled, transgendered and marginalized speakers. The discussion will be followed by an ideation session where the participants brainstorm ways credit unions can better connect with and serve the unique diversity that exists in all communities—with the goal of taking the ideas home to improve outreach efforts at their respective credit unions.

Other speakers at the Youth Summit will include:

  • Steve Stapp – Chair, World Council Board of Directors
  • Paul Treinen – World Council Executive Vice President
  • Gisele Gomes – WYCUP Steering Committee Member

Following the Youth Summit, the international delegation will participate in field visits to see examples of cooperation among cooperatives—in this case between SICREDI and the Castrolandia agricultural cooperative. Our delegation will see firsthand how local dairy farmers and other small businesses benefit from the natural synergies that exist between the cooperatives. They’ll also see how the day-to-day operations compare to their realities back home.

“This exchange connects participants with their counterparts in similar roles and provides a fascinating look at how credit unions service their members in Brazil. Participants will be exposed to new perspectives on governance, product development, marketing, social responsibility and more,” said Thom Belekevich, World Council Program Manager for Member Services.

Young professionals representing 10 U.S. credit unions or credit union associations—CUNA, Policy Works - Iowa Credit Union League, Cornerstone Credit Union League, Mountain West Credit Union Association, Northwest Credit Union Association, Association of Vermont Credit Unions, Vermont State Employees Credit Union, XCEL Federal Credit Union, Hughes Federal Credit Union and Unitus Community Credit Union—are participating in the exchange.

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 90 countries. Worldwide, 87,914 credit unions in 118 countries serve 393 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at

Author Photo
Contact: Greg Neumann
Organization: World Council of Credit Unions
Phone: +1 608-395-2048

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