The World Council of Credit Unions 2023 Annual General Meeting. (World Council photo)

WOCCU announces Digital Growth Award, Fellowship winners at 2023 Annual General Meeting

July 26, 2023

World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) presented a pair of 2023 Digital Growth Awards and announced the winners of the new WOCCU Fellowship program during its Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the 2023 World Credit Union Conference.

Co-operative Bank of Vietnam and Unitus Community Credit Union (Oregon/USA) received 2023 Digital Growth Awards for implementing digital solutions that promote financial inclusion, innovation and scalability.

Unitus Community Credit Union received a Digital Growth Award for its “AZIE Mobile App”. Designed to connect members of Oregon’s Black community with financial products, services and education from local credit unions that best align with their unique needs, Azie aims to foster financial and housing stability while creating and sustaining generational wealth.

“At Unitus, we believe that if you focus on inclusion, inspiring service and innovation, our organization, our members and our community overall will thrive and be better for it. Azie was a product of those three I's and was built to support a very special collaborative,” said Megan Snyder, Unitus CCU vice president of strategic partnerships and portfolio management, in accepting the award.

Co-operative Bank of Vietnam received a Digital Growth Award for its creation of “A Digital Ecosystem”, which revolutionized cooperative financial services in Vietnam. The solution provides a diversity of digital channels through which a wide range of members can access products and services. 

Elenita San Roque, CEO of the Asian Confederation of Credit Unions (ACCU), accepted the award on behalf of Co-operative Bank of Vietnam, whose executives were unable to attend.

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

WOCCU Fellowship recipients announced

WOCCU also announced Eleonora Zgonjanin (North Macedonia) and Patrick John Rico (Philippines) as recipients of the 2023 WOCCU Fellowship.

WOCCU in April launched the first Fellowship nominations to encourage credit union leaders under the age of 40 and women of any age to apply to serve as “observers” on the WOCCU Board of Directors.

Zgonjanin and Rico were selected from a pool of 52 applicants from 12 countries. They will attend and participate in three WOCCU Board meetings over a one-year period, beginning in fall of 2023. Their travel expenses, including airfare, hotel and local transportation, will be covered by WOCCU, including registration to attend the 2024 World Credit Union Conference.

As observers, they will receive all material information provided to members of the Board but will not have formal voting rights during the Board of Directors’ meetings. They will also receive mentorship from members of the WOCCU Board, or from members of the WOCCU or Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions’ staff.

WOCCU Board welcomes two new directors

Delegates to the AGM approved the election of Grace Badilla López, President of the Board of Directors for Federacion Nacional de Cooperativas de Ahorro y Credito Financieras (FEDEAC) in Costa Rica, to the WOCCU Board.

Badilla López fills a vacancy left by Jaime Chavez, who steps away after representing the Colombian Federation of Credit Unions (FECOLFIN) on the Board since 2015.

The WOCCU Board also approved the appointment of Helene McManus, a member of the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) Board, to serve out the final year of fellow ILCU Board Member Charles Murphy’s term. Murphy resigned his seat on the World Council Board, effective Monday afternoon.

Delegates also reelected current Director Rafał Matusiak (Poland) to a two-year term, while the Board reappointed current directors Diana Dykstra (USA), Erin Mendez (USA), Linda Bowyer (Canada) and Younsik Kim (South Korea) to two-year terms.

ACCOSCA promoted to direct member organization

WOCCU also announced the addition of a new direct member organization at the AGM. The WOCCU Board last week approved the African Confederation of Cooperative Savings and Credit Association’s (ACCOSCA) promotion from an associate to a direct member of WOCCU.

As the only pan-African credit union association representing national associations from 20 countries, direct membership will give ACCOSCA a significant number of votes at future AGMs and also qualifies the organization for a seat on the WOCCU Board—resulting in a stronger voice for Africa in WOCCU governance.

ACCOSCA becomes WOCCU’s sixth direct member organization from Africa.