A record number of attendees celebrate WCUC 2023. (World Council photo) 

2023 World Credit Union Conference opens in Vancouver

July 24, 2023

A record 3,000 attendees from 60 countries packed into the West English Bay Room of the Vancouver Convention Centre Sunday afternoon to kick off the 2023 World Credit Union Conference.

WOCCU Board Chair Diana Dykstra encouraged credit union professionals to embrace change and remain open to new possibilities at this year’s conference, co-hosted by World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) and the Canadian Credit Union Association (CCUA).

“It is in the spirit of adapting and becoming resilient that we gather this week to connect and learn from one another,” said Dykstra. “You will meet colleagues and friends from every corner of the globe and learn how our peers are addressing credit union issues like expanding membership, developing shared solutions, delivering better services through digital platforms and climate-smart, resilient solutions.”

WOCCU 2023 Distinguished Service Awards go to Lebedko, Branch

WOCCU announced its 2023 Distinguished Service Award winners as Oleg Lebedko, CEO of Ukrainian Federal Credit Union (Rochester, New York, USA), and former WOCCU President and CEO Brian Branch—both of whom were nominated by CUNA of the United States.

Lebedko was on hand to accept his Distinguished Service Award for international credit union work in Ukraine, specifically since the country declared its independence in 1991. Since 2017, Lebedko has participated as a volunteer for the WOCCU Credit for Agriculture Producers’ (CAP) Project, traveling to Kyiv to create a strategic plan for the All-Ukrainian Credit Union Association (AUCUA). In 2021, Lebedko began serving on WOCCU’s International Governance Committee for the CAP Project.

“While this award is recognition of my individual achievements, I firmly believe it is a reflection of the extraordinary work carried out by many credit unions worldwide and, specifically, by the activists of the credit unions in Ukraine and Ukrainian diaspora credit unions in the U.S. and Canada, representatives of which are present here today. I want to dedicate this award to the brave and courageous Ukrainians, including many credit union employees and members, who have been fighting for the sovereignty and freedom of Ukraine,” said Lebedko.

Brian Branch received a 2023 Distinguished Service Award for his 31 years of service to World Council of Credit Unions. During his career, Branch traveled to and worked in 104 countries, developing programs to start credit unions, conduct management training, expand outreach, build networks, improve regulatory environments and introduce technological innovations. Branch spent his last decade with WOCCU serving as president and CEO from 2011-21. Diana Dykstra accepted the award on behalf of Branch, who was not in attendance.

The opening ceremony was also highlighted by the traditional flag parade and musical performances by members of Canada’s First Nations.

Solution Center opens with welcome reception

After the opening ceremony, attendees flocked to the Solution Center at WCUC 2023, where WOCCU and CCUA co-hosted a welcome reception and exhibitors showcased their products and services.

“This is the largest number of vendors we’ve ever had exhibit at a World Credit Union Conference held outside of the United States,” said Paul Treinen, WOCCU Executive Vice President. “It presents a great opportunity for credit union representatives to find solutions that can help them streamline, improve and expand their operations.”

WOCCU and Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions also have a booth in the Solution Center where attendees can learn more about how the organizations work with and on behalf of credit unions worldwide.

Follow conference activities and see daily event photos on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram with #WCUC2023.

Presented in collaboration with the Canadian Credit Union Association (CCUA), the 2023 World Credit Union Conference runs through Wednesday, July 26.