Thanks to an improving economy, 2010 proved to be a strong year for WOCCU's International Partnerships Program as activities escalated after a hiatus on travel in 2009. The Partnership Program also maintained its strong level of credit union support, with all 25 partnerships having at least one of the parties monetarily support the program, with financial contributions from 39 program participants.
In 2010, WOCCU added two new partnerships: SICREDI, a Brazilian credit union system, partnered with the Texas Credit Union League; and GESRO CU in Ghana partnered with Jefferson Financial Credit Union in Louisiana.
Many partnership activities and other events sponsored by the Partnerships Program were picked up by the media. Articles and stories on international partners and departmental programs periodically run in league newsletters, CUNA's News Now, Credit Union Times, and foreign local media, including mentions in Credit Union Magazine. The department was the source of 24 releases in trade media and local media in 2010. Twenty of those releases pertained to the international partners and four others pertained to the study tours.
Although the Spanish Immersion Program drew only one participant in 2010, WOCCU found a new market for customized learning tours. In 2010, the partnerships department hosted a record nine international study programs throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Panama, engaging 161 participants.
Finally, the Partnerships Program experienced a slightly subdued year with its volunteers program. A total of four U.S. credit union and league volunteers traveled to training events in Belize, Panama, Russia, Romania and Fiji. The training events focused on league growth strategies, lobbying and youth financial education.
Among the goals for 2011, the Partnerships Program will expand its activities through new partnerships, and also offer regional training and workshop opportunities to members and partner credit unions. These training opportunities will most likely cover the topics of lobbying and advocacy, risk-based lending and PEARLS utilization.
In 2010, WOCCU's International Partnerships Program supported 25 different partnerships:
1. Antigua/ Arizona
2. Bahamas/ Massachusetts
3. Belize/ Southwest Corporate
5. Costa Rica/ League of Southeastern Credit Unions
6. Dominican Republic/ Wisconsin
7. Estonia/ Virginia
8. Ghana/Jefferson Financial CU
9. Guatemala/California & Nevada
10. Jamaica/ Texas
11. Mexico Alianza/ New Mexico
12. Mexico Caja Morelia/ North Carolina
13. Mexico Caja Yanga/Servus Credit Union
14. Nicaragua/ Washington, D.C. & Maryland
15. Panama/ Iowa
16. Paraguay/ Minnesota
17. Peru/ Vermont
18. Poland/Georgia (direct relationship)
19. Puerto Rico/ New York
20. Russia/ Louisiana
21. Solomon Islands/ Idaho
22. St. Lucia/ Michigan
23. Suriname/ North Carolina
24. Trinidad & Tobago/ Connecticut
25. United Kingdom/ Washington, D.C. & Maryland (direct relationship)