Portland, Ore.-area credit unions recently hosted a distinguished delegation of Central American credit union leaders.
The guests visited in conjunction with the World Council of Credit Unions’ Technical Internship program. The program enables geographically diverse credit unions to exchange challenges, ideas, and solutions in order to improve financial health for individuals and communities throughout the world.
From Sept. 24 through Sept. 28, the nine delegates and their interpreters aimed to absorb a wealth of information detailing how leading Northwest credit unions consistently improve service for their members and communities.
“We walked them through nearly every part of our operations, starting with the work we do in the community, said Steve Stapp, president/CEO of Unitus Community CU, based in Portland. “We shared how we promote financial education, what goes into our regular strategic planning, how our systems support online and mobile banking, and how we monitor enterprise risk management to protect our members.”
The Unitus visit was only day one of a five-day program that included tours and presentations at the headquarters of several other northwest credit unions.
“Each time we host one of these groups there’s always a great cultural exchange between Latin American countries and the United States,” Stapp said. “They want to see what’s happening here in Portland, discovering how local credit unions work to improve financial service and health for their members.”
This is only the latest international exchange initiative led by Stapp, who was elected chairman of the World Council’s Board of Directors in July. Given his mission to help economically developing nations improve life for their citizens by integrating proven, people-oriented financial systems, it’s certain not to be the last.
“Hosting a forum for these Latin American credit unions provides two-fold benefits,” said Stapp. “It gives these credit unions a chance to learn about the amazing things credit unions are doing in the Portland area today and take those best practices back to their country. It also helps us to understand the financial challenges they are facing, what their needs are, and how we can help each other progress toward free and open financial services for everyone.”