World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) invited a dozen executives from Peru’s Cooperativa de Ahorro y Credito Santo Cristo de Bagazan and El Salvador’s Federation of Savings and Loan Cooperative Associations (FEDECACES) to take part in the three-day Pasantia Técnica (Technical Internship) programme.
Representatives of the Mountain West Credit Union Association (MWCUA), three of its member institutions – On Tap Credit Union, Columbine Federal Credit Union and Denver Community Credit Union – and CULedger also attended, to discuss ways in which cooperatives have benefited from a mix of technology and personalised service.
“American credit unions have a lot to share about their experiences with digital financial services, but they also have a lot they can learn from financial cooperatives in Latin America, which have achieved great success in strengthening outreach with their members and communities,” says Thomas Belekevich, World Council programme manager for member services.
He adds: “In order to grow membership, credit unions in places like Peru and El Salvador are expanding digital services to reach new members in areas where physical branch locations don’t exist. The challenge now is in expanding collaborative models for helping reduce the cost of this digitisation process.”
The programme explored the sustainability and cost benefits of collaboration regarding technology, along with tools to increase operational efficiencies and improve digital access to financial services.
Topics under discussion also included ways to enhance members’ financial well-being by offering a combination of technology and financial education, and how to promote cooperatives as digital leaders.