20 countries represented at WYCUP Affiliates Council kickoff event

Initiative aims to link existing young professional networks, build new ones around the world

MADISON, WI (February 18, 2021)

More than 50 young credit union professionals from 20 countries participated in the first WYCUP Affiliates Council meeting February 16—signaling an important new chapter of cooperation among young professional (YP) networks across the globe.

“You all jumped at the chance to connect internationally,” WYCUP Director Thomas Belekevich told the attendees. “I see incredible untapped potential and opportunity in our willingness to come together and share our experience. That’s what makes us different. This pandemic hasn’t changed that—if anything it’s made it more important than ever.”

Belekevich said the WYCUP Affiliates Council was specifically set up to:

  • Formalize communication channels between WYCUP and local, regional and national YP networks around the world.
  • Identify and expand opportunities for virtual engagement to enrich professional journeys.
  • Be a bridge for YP speaking opportunities to share global perspectives at local events.
  • Support the formation of new YP networks in areas where they don’t exist.
  • Empower young professionals to develop shared resources that expand the relevance of financial cooperatives among young adults, both employees and members.

Several of the YPs in attendance shared what their networks are currently working on for 2021.

“We are starting strategic planning for 2025. I am excited about this opportunity to get more involved with the youth,” said Ingrid Henriquez, Marketing Coordinator for FEDACACES, World Council of Credit Unions’ direct member organization in El Salvador. “It’s been a challenge to get our industry more focused on the youth. Out of 22 credit unions, only nine are working with young people.”

While the Affiliates Council is being developed during a pandemic, most in attendance believed that will only help its growth.

Elvis Espinoza, Senior Technical Assistance Consultant at FENACREP, World Council’s direct member organization in Peru, echoed the sentiments of many attendees in pointing out that virtual meetings have brought the credit union movement closer together over the past year.

“We could reach more credit unions and they felt closer, even if it sounds contradictory,” said Espinoza “We got together through Zoom and this made us stronger as a federation, providing services to credit unions, and helping them provide services to members.”

World Council Board Director Manfred Alfonso Dasenbrock, who represents Sicredi,, Brazil’s largest credit union system, encouraged the YPs to use this new initiative as an opportunity to get out of their comfort zones.

“Go to the outskirts, go to the streets, talk to people—see what their needs are. Credit unions are based on the needs of the people. This is important. If there is a need, design projects (to address them), some of them can become programs in your federation or your country as a whole,” said Dasenbrock.

Advising the YPs to get a range of perspectives, Dasenbrock also encouraged them to:

  • Volunteer and open their arms to new opportunities.
  • Dare to dream, as the energy and passion of youth is vital to the credit union cause.
  • Build their networks with diversity in mind.

“Great things happen when the world’s YPs come together. And we’re coming together stronger than ever before in this new virtual engagement initiative – 10,000 Strong!,” said Belekevich.

The WYCUP Affiliates Council will meet virtually each month. Click here to learn more and find out how to join.

WYCUP (World Council Young Credit Union Professionals) – a program of Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions – empowers emerging leaders with global perspective to be part of the solution. Join us and enrich professional journeys through financial cooperatives everywhere.

Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions is the fundraising and engagement arm of the World Council. Join us on a global journey to transform a billion lives worldwide using credit unions. Visit  to start your journey today.

About World Council of Credit Unions

World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development platform for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach. World Council has implemented 300+ technical assistance programs in 90 countries. Worldwide, 82,758 credit unions in 97 countries serve 404 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at


Greg Neumann
Phone: +1 608-395-2048

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