​July 7, 2016

Indiana hosts Ecuadorian credit union group

INDIANAPOLIS and ELKHART, IN - A group of 11 representatives of one of Ecuador’s largest credit unions traveled to Indiana to learn more about the credit union business. The visit was coordinated between the Indiana Credit Union League and World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU). It was a follow-up to the League board and management meeting with WOCCU CEO Brian Branch during the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference, as well as the efforts of League Board Treasurer Dallas Bergl who serves on the CUNA Board and its World Affairs Committee. The delegation from COPROGRESO Credit Union included members of the board of directors and supervisory committee at the $350 million “Unión de Crédito.” They were hosted throughout the visit by the Indiana League.
The trip was organized as part of WOCCU’s International Training Program. The program allows credit union representatives to come to the United States to learn more about the products and services offered by American credit unions, consumer behavior and the fine points of member recruitment, retention and overall service.
“We were thrilled to be able to host this group and show them the credit union version of “Hoosier Hospitality” while serving as an educational resource for their credit union leadership,” said Indiana League President John McKenzie. “As part of the trip, the group toured the League office, four credit unions in Indianapolis and Elkhart as well as the Indiana state capitol building. During the visits to the League and credit unions, dialogue revolved around PowerPoint presentations (in Spanish) with very productive exchanges of information.”
The group from COPROGRESO represented a number of professions and included a lawyer, accountant, professor, elected official (comparable to a mayor in U.S.), and business owners. According to WOCCU Program Manager Thomas Belekevich, who was with the group throughout the visit, “They seemed re-energized and excited to return to Ecuador and look for ways to implement some of the things they learned from this exchange.”  The group was especially interested in consumer trends, technology and how to adapt technology to deliver products and services to members.
“INOVA was honored to be able to exchange ideas with our colleagues from Ecuador,” said Dallas Bergl who is CEO of INOVA FCU in Elkhart. “Our entire executive team took a few hours to discuss the interworkings of our credit union and to learn about how we are similar and how we differ from a credit union in Ecuador. Interestingly, they are very close in assets to our organization; however, they serve over four times the number of members. The people on both sides of this exchange felt as though the time together was well spent. They were very gracious guests and left us with many great memories. The World Council does amazing work around the world and it was fantastic to get to experience that first hand right here in Elkhart, Ind.”
“It was our honor to host the group from COPROGRESO,” said Indiana League Director Doug True who is CEO of Fishers-based FORUM CU. "FORUM Credit Union team members enjoyed the opportunity to exchange credit union information during their tour of our headquarters building and branch location. It truly was an exchange as we learned a great deal from our new Ecuadorian friends on a variety of credit union topics. Through the experience we gained a respect for the impact they make in their community and it is refreshing to witness credit union values making a difference around the world.”
“It was a very memorable afternoon and great experience for all of us at Financial Center with our management staff and many board members involved in the meeting with the CU group from Ecuador,” said Indianapolis-based Financial Center First CU President/CEO Kevin Ryan who is also on the League board. "The involvement of our Spanish-speaking staff, due to our emphasis in serving the Latino community in Indianapolis, was very helpful to the process. The timing worked out to include the group in a reception tied to our credit union’s board meeting that day.”
The group also visited a downtown Indianapolis branch of South Bend-headquartered Teachers Credit Union.
“WOCCU links the worldwide movement in search of best solutions for credit unions. We’re happy to see the collaboration and results that this exchange will undoubtedly have,” said WOCCUVP Member Services Victor Corro who participated in the visit. “Visits such as this are at the core of the cooperative principles and what we do at World Council.  We are very grateful to the credit union friends that we made in Indiana for their time, commitment and knowledge share.”
As part of the Ecuador CU Group’s three-day visit to Indiana, the League arranged for a visit to the Statehouse. Pictured is the group sitting at a table in the Governor’s office with senior staff.