From left, World Council President/CEO Elissa McCarter LaBorde, Northpark CCU President/CEO Carma Parrish, and World Council Board Chairman Rafal Matusiak. (World Council photo)

World Council awards credit unions for digital innovations

July 19, 2022

World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) on Monday presented awards for digital growth and credit union service during its Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the 2022 World Credit Union Conference.

WOCCU presented a pair of 2022 Digital Growth Awards at the AGM.

Nominated by the Indiana Credit Union League, Northpark Community Credit Union (USA) received a Digital Growth Award for its Virtual Branching initiative, which was developed and implemented to deliver on a goal of closing all brick-and-mortar branches in favor of e-services and ATMs.

“We cannot underserve the underserved and we have to meet them where they are," said Carma Parrish, President and CEO of Northpark CCU, in accepting the award. "And I have so much respect for meeting people where they are, not where we are,”

Sicredi, the largest credit union system in Brazil, also received a Digital Growth Award for CPR Facil— its first 100% digital agribusiness product that allows members to take out loans using a mobile phone. 

“CPR Facil is making such a difference to build a better society and also changing our members’ lives. We hope that this case can be spread to other credit unions down the road,” said Estefane Chaves, a Rural Credit Analyst who accepted the award on behalf of Sicredi.

First awarded in 2021, the Digital Growth Award is presented annually to recognize one or more member credit union associations or individual member credit unions for implementing digital solutions that promote financial inclusion, innovation and scalability.

A panel of independent digitization experts selected by WOCCU judged all nominations and selected this year's winners.

Distinguished Service Award

WOCCU presented Marshall Boutwell, President and CEO, Peach State Federal Credit Union (USA), with the 2022 Distinguished Service Award. He was nominated by the Association of British Credit Unions Limited (ABCUL) for his long history of engagement with credit unions in Poland and Great Britain.

Boutwell was one of the original participants in the Georgia-Poland Partnership, which links credit union executives from the U.S. State of Georgia with their counterparts in Polish credit unions. Since 2016, Boutwell has also supported two different British credit unions in their development journey—offering guidance, expertise, access to his team, exchange visits and direct financial contributions to support the ABCUL Credit Unions Futures program (an immersion program to develop young leaders).

He described his experience working with credit unions in other countries as incredibly rewarding.

“This has been the most extraordinary experience in my lifetime. It has broadened my horizons, it’s made me a better cooperative leader, a better leader of my own credit union—more open to lots of different people from lots of different areas. And this is indeed a great honor,” said Boutwell.

Getting ready for the future

Are credit unions future ready? Only 31% of attendees at Monday’s general session of the 2022 World Credit Union Conference said their credit unions are ready in a poll conducted by Ian Khan, a future readiness pioneer who delivered the first keynote presentation of the Conference.

“I would have loved to have seen at least 50% of respondents here say that you are future ready, in one way or the other, but we got to have more confidence when we say we’re future ready,” said Khan, who emphasized that future readiness is not just about technology.

Khan told attendees future readiness is also about assessing where you are, where you want to go and what you need to get there. But again, only a small percentage of attendees indicated they are even thinking about those questions.

“It’s just 26% that are saying, 'yes, we do that.' Everywhere else, it’s a little bit weaker. I would have loved a much better response than this, but that’s the opportunity for us to do the work and improve,” said Khan.

Still to come

The 2022 World Credit Union Conference continues Tuesday morning with the introduction of World Council’s new Board Chair and a fireside chat on international advocacy with credit union regulators from the United States and Ireland.

Follow conference activities and see daily event photos on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram with #WCUC2022.

The 2022 World Credit Union Conference is presented in collaboration with the Association of British Credit Unions Limited (ABCUL) and runs through July 20.