Costa Rican Credit Unions Gain Technological Insights from U.S. Partner
League of Southeastern Credit Unions & Affiliates share experiences with Costa Rican partner through World Council
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica — Federación de Cooperativas de Ahorro y Crédito de Costa Rica R.L. (FEDEAC), the trade association for Costa Rican credit unions, recently hosted U.S. officials from the League of Southeastern Credit Unions & Affiliates (LSCU) and World Council of Credit Unions at FEDEAC’s annual credit union leadership conference in celebration of their 13th anniversary. The conference focused on growing and uniting the Costa Rican credit union movement through greater cooperation and leadership development.
Coordinated by World Council’s International Partnerships Program, the visit was part of a series of collaborative activities that began in 2005 between FEDEAC and LSCU to promote credit union growth. LSCU representatives presented at the conference on credit unions’ use of technology to create greater efficiencies, improve security, enhance the member experience and attract new members — especially youth.
The LSCU delegation also visited several of FEDEAC’s member credit unions, including Coopenae, Coopeande No. 1 R.L. and Coopeservidores. Additional meetings took place with the Costa Rican legislative assembly and national regulators to discuss credit union regulations and contributions to socioeconomic development.
“As we met with congressional leaders in Costa Rica, I was struck by the commonalities between our respective credit union movements,” said Patrick La Pine, president/CEO, LSCU. “Increasingly, greater importance is being placed on advocacy efforts in defense of credit unions; highlighting the difference between credit unions and banks as financial institutions.”
Joining La Pine on the visit was Innovations Federal Credit Union President/CEO David Southall, an LSCU affiliate, who presented on innovative technological products and services, including the use of social media and dialogue tower banking, which incorporates new branch design elements to improve the member experience, attract youth and increase overall membership.
“I’m impressed with the passion for their movement; their eagerness to learn, evolve and adapt best practices from the United States, as well as from around the world,” said Southall, whose credit union is based in Panama City, Fla.
World Council President and CEO Brian Branch spoke at the conference about global credit union trends.
“Costa Rican credit unions have a large market penetration, with about one in five people in the country belonging to a credit union,” said Branch. “FEDEAC, our member organization in Costa Rica, is looking at ways to unite and grow the system through greater collaboration. Patrick and David had excellent experiences to share from both a league perspective and through Innovations FCU’s use of technology to operate more efficiently and to reach a younger demographic.”
Victor Miguel Corro, World Council’s vice president of the Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions, coordinated and joined U.S. representatives on the visit. FEDEAC President and CEO Manuel Bolaños hosted the visit.
“I came away inspired by the tremendous growth Costa Rican credit unions have achieved and how progressive their movement is,” La Pine said.
There are currently 66 active credit unions in Costa Rica serving 611,182 members.
Learn more about World Council’s International Partnerships Program at www.woccu.org/partnerships.
World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) is the global trade association and development agency 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 more than 290 technical assistance programs in 71 countries. Worldwide, 51,000 credit unions in 100 countries serve 196 million people. Learn more about World Council’s impact around the world at www.woccu.org.