Credit unions helping credit unions

Why Jefferson Financial CU's CEO mentors and supports financial co-ops in Ghana and Russia.

When Mark Rosa visited a branch of GESRO Co-operative Credit Union  in Ghana a couple years back, he was greeted with a touching tribute—a flag emblazoned with the logo of his own CU, Jefferson Financial Credit Union, flying overhead.

GESRO Co-operative CU managers had the flag specially made in appreciation for Rosa’s mentoring and financial support from Jefferson Financial CU, Metairie, La., including a $100,000 long-term loan the $4 million Ghana cooperative uses to extend its micro business lending program.

“They understand the importance of cooperatives and the people helping people philosophy, and they’re happy to be doing this work,” says Rosa, CEO of the $420 million Jefferson Financial CU serving 43,000 members. “They provide seed money for people starting a dress shop or fruit stand, and their loan officers go out every day to collect small loan payments out of their members’ daily receipts.”

Rosa, a CUES member, met the former GESRO Co-operative CU manager when he came to the United States to attend training. That manager accepted Rosa’s invitation to visit Jefferson Financial CU. Later, Rosa was invited to visit Ghana to see firsthand how the country is making economic gains through GESRO Co-operative CU’s efforts.

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