Northwest Credit Unions Were on the Global Stage at This Year’s World Credit Union Conference


Steve Stapp, President and CEO of Unitus Community Credit Union and WOCCU Board Chair, welcomes attendees to the World Credit Union Conference last week in the Bahamas.

Northwest representation was strong at this year’s World Credit Union Conference, held in the Bahamas last week, and hosted by the World Council of Credit Unions. The annual conference brought more than 2,000 credit union professionals representing 60 nations. Worldwide, there are 90,000 credit unions serving 260 million members across 117 nations, and each shares the same DNA – not-for-profit cooperatives that put members first. 

World Council Board Chair, Steve Stapp, welcomed attendees on the conference’s opening day. Stapp is President and CEO of Portland-based Unitus Community Credit Union has served on WOCCU’s Board since 2013. During the opening ceremony, Stapp presided over the parade of flags and gave the crowd a peek at what was to come during the conference. Digitization, he told the audience, was the focus of WCUC 2019. 

Northwest Representation on the Global Stage 

Here in the Northwest, credit union professionals are familiar with the powerful story of Ironworkers USA Federal Credit Union, based in Portland. The credit union was “on life support,” when Teri Robinson, CEO, took the reins in 2010. With determinationperseverance, and a multi-faceted strategic plan, Robinson helped the credit union go from $7.9 million in assets to $37 million today.  

Robinson shared her credit union’s inspiring story to a crowd of conference attendees during the “Together Better – Small Credit Unions Collaborate for Innovation & Efficiency” breakout session. Another familiar Northwest name, Scott Butterfield, Principal of Your Credit Union Partner, moderated the session.  

Shirley Cate, President and CEO of Milwaukie, Oregon-based Providence Federal Credit Union, also presented at the session. Robinson and Cate discussed how small credit unions can collaborate to help one another. Cooperation is key to survival, they emphasized. 

Robinson at WOCCU

Teri Robinson, CEO of Ironworkers USA Federal Credit Union, talks about how critical it is for small credit unions to collaborate in order to be successful during the World Credit Union Conference.

Seattle Credit Union Leader Talks Diversity  

In another breakout session, Tonita Webb, Chief Operating Officer for Seattle Credit Union, presented her talk, “Why You Cannot Have Diversity Without Inclusion.” Webb walked attendees through a credit union’s journey toward a diverse and inclusive workforce and membership. She discussed the lessons learned and how they discovered diversity without inclusion meant failure. Seattle Credit Union has focused on these priorities by making changes to its policies, products, hiring practices, and leadership. 

WOCCU’s Board of Directors Includes Northwest Expertise 

With its 14 Board members, WOCCU’s Board of Directors represent all corners of the globe, including the Northwest. Northwest Board members include Stapp and Carla Cicero, Board Director and President/CEO of Numerica Credit Union in Spokane. Cicero was reappointed for a two-year term during the conference, and Stapp was re-elected to serve as Chair for another year.  

Your Association Commits to Project Storm 

During the conference, more than a dozen credit unions committed $107,000 to the World Council’s charitable fundraising arm, the Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions. Your Northwest Credit Union Foundation committed $5,000, which will go toward assisting credit unions worldwide in the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster. The NWCUF supports credit unions through its Disaster Relief program, which aligns with the Northwest Credit Union Foundation’s asset building strategic priority.

Several Young Credit Union Professionals from the Northwest also attended the conference, and the Global Women’s Leadership Network had a presence in celebrating the network’s 10-year anniversary. With five active Sister Societies, the Northwest is proud to play a role in the network’s continued growth. 

The World Council will host WCUC 2020 in conjunction with the Credit Union National Association, July 19-22, in Los Angeles. For more information, visit WOCCU online.  

 MAXX 2019, to be held in Spokane Oct 1517, also will provide credit unions across the region with global perspectives, including celebrating International Credit Union Day on the last day of MAXX, Oct. 17. Visit MAXX online to register. 

Providence Federal Credit Union President and CEO, Shirley Cate, talks to CU Broadcast about small credit union collaboration during the World Credit Union Conference.

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