J. Kevin Ryan, president/CEO of Financial Center First CU, and Marco Dominguez, the credit union’s director of community relations, traveled to Colombia, South America in early September to share their credit union’s strategies for helping people improve their lives through financial education.
Ryan and Dominguez’s trip to Colombia came at the invitation of the World Council of Credit Unions and was a part of Financial Center’s growing initiative to provide financial literacy on a global scale. They were hosted by World Council Board Member Oscar Guzman and his team,
“Financial Center was honored to share how we’ve made financial literacy such an integral part of serving our community with fellow credit unions from South America, and to learn of the successful financial literacy efforts accomplished in Colombia. The work being done is just amazing.” said Ryan.
While in South America, Ryan and Dominguez visited World Council’s Bogota office to learn more about the organization’s global financial literacy outreach specifically to the remote areas of northeast Colombia that border Venezuela. Here, the World Council is focused on bringing financial literacy and credit union services to the un-banked through sometimes extraordinary circumstances – traveling rivers in small boats, traversing mountain paths and overcoming fear of conflict with thieves and armed guerrillas.
Financial Center, a three-time national winner of the CUNA’s Adult Financial Education Award, was chosen to speak at World Council’s Education Summit for its dedication to teaching responsible money management skills to its members, community members, and Indiana’s immigrant population. Financial Center employs two dedicated staff members for adult and youth financial education efforts and is the chosen sole provider of financial literacy to immigrants who visit the Consul de Mexico in Indiana. As a result, the credit union teaches financial literacy to more than 3,000 people annually.
Financial Center also had the opportunity to speak to World Council members, local credit unions and several Colombian government agencies about its business practices – focusing on mobilizing financial literacy outreach and developing strategic planning as a credit union competency.
“I believe credit unions are more alike than they are different,” Ryan said. “Whether you live in Central Indiana or the borders of South America, your local credit union is doing whatever it takes to spread the cooperative principles that credit unions were built upon. We‘re ‘people helping people’ building financial stability so members can live a better life.”