NWCUA Hosts Ecuador Credit Union Group

This week, the Northwest Credit Union Association played host to nine officers of San Francisco Cooperativa, a $115 million credit union based in Ambato, Ecuador. The visit was arranged by the World Council of Credit Unions as part of its International Partnership Program and took the group to four credit unions in Oregon and Washington.

The group had a busy schedule. First, NWCUA President Troy Stang welcomed the group and briefed them on the Association and its member, before they began their whirlwind tour to learn how Northwest credit unions are using the latest technology to enhance members’ experience.

“There were a lot of great exchanges between our member credit union folks and our guests that covered a variety of topics,” said NWCUA Director of Outreach Programs Kasey Rockwell. “The people from Ecuador asked a lot of really good questions and were very pleased to learn how our members  deliver member services.”

It was not one-way traffic though, as NWCUA members also wanted to know how the Ecuador-based credit union effectively targeted the youth market. San Francisco Cooperativa has 120,000 members and operates in nine branch locations throughout three regions in Ecuador, many in remote locations.

“They have some really innovatice strategies in this area that our members can learn from as well,” Rockwell noted. “For example, they have developed a mobile playground that they take to their various branches and promote as a way to attract youth to the credit union,” Rockwell said.

The delegates also met with state officials, who explained the legislative and regulatory environment in Oregon. Senator Jason Atkinson provided a tour of the capitol, including the senate chamber, while state regulator Janet Powell discussed how credit unions are evaluated and governed for safety and soundness. There was lively discussion and everyone was interested to learn that the Ecuador governance model is similar in many respects, even using the same CAMEL rating system used by NCUA and state regulators.

The visit concluded with a visit to the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, where they would learn about the Northwest credit unions contributions and commitment to children’s health and well-being.

“This is a really wonderful opportunity, not only for our friends from Ecuador but for NWCUA to share our commitment to growing the credit union movement throughout the world,” Rockwell said.

Questions about the trip? Contact Director of CU Development Kasey Rockwell: 503.350.2217, krockwell@nwcua.org.

Posted in Advocacy News, NWCUA.