Global credit union leaders honored in Australia: Nicholls and Koisen receive Distinguished Service Award

Five young professionals earn scholarships to 2015 World Credit Union Conference

GOLD COAST, AU (August 1, 2014) — The world’s credit union movement leaders Rob Nicholls and Michael Koisen received World Council of Credit Unions’ Distinguished Service Award, the industry’s top global honor, at the 2014 World Credit Union Conference closing ceremonies in Gold Coast, Australia, on Wednesday. Recognition was also given to recipients of the World Council Young Credit Union People (WYCUP) scholarship program, Manager Certification Program, Global Women’s Leadership Network scholarship and Credit Union Ambassador Award.

Nicholls, former deputy CEO of Credit Union of Australia; chair of Cuscal Ltd.; and director of Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA), Credit Union Foundation of Australia (CUFA) and World Council, has committed his career to the Australian, New Zealand and global credit union movements for over 30 years. As a World Council director (1999-2003), he supported the organization’s international development activities by establishing project sharing and cooperation with CUFA, visiting projects and recruiting Worldwide Foundation Supporters and WYCUP participants throughout Australia. Since 2008, Nicholls has served as an advisor and director to the board of the New Zealand Association of Credit Unions, during which he helped reintegrate and reform the country’s system after a governance crisis.

“If you go to the World Council website, you can see the recipients over the last thirty years. I knew and worked with these pioneers and I’m honored to join them and all the DSA recipients around the world,” Nicholls shared with the crowd of over 1,800 global credit union representatives.

Koisen—CEO of Teachers Savings and Loan Society, Papua New Guinea’s largest credit union—has worked with credit unions for 33 years throughout the Pacific region and the world. His development service in the Pacific included the foundation of the Oceanic Confederation of Credit Union Leagues, where he served as chairman, and of the Pacific Credit Union Technical Congress, which he has helped implement each year with World Council and CUFA since 2008. He also aided World Council with implementing the region’s Manager Certification Program to improve credit union staff’s financial management skills.

“Some thirty five years ago I caught the fever,” said Koisen, the face of Papua New Guinea’s movement who began his credit union work at the age of nineteen. “That was the start of a wonderful journey. The rest is history, but the fever has not left me yet.”

In addition to DSA honors, World Council awarded scholarships to five participants in the World Council Young Credit Union People (WYCUP) program. The following scholarship winners earned all-expense-paid attendance to next year’s World Credit Union Conference in Denver, Colorado, USA:

  • Emma Avery, Greater Building Society (Australia)
  • Oleg Vakhrushev, Nizhny Novgorod Credit Union for Education (Russia)
  • Paul Norgrove, Police Credit Union (United Kingdom)
  • Carlos Gustavo, Sicredi (Brazil)
  • Robin Blythe, Libro Credit Union (Canada)

Recipients of World Council’s two-year Manager Certification Program in Papua New Guinea received recognition, including Lavinia Taraika and Jack Tewe. The audience also recognized the six 2014 Global Women’s Leadership Network scholarship winners, including Nigar Agamaliyeva, Azerbaijan Credit Unions Association (Azerbaijan); Esther Cherono Keino, Belgut Rural Women SACCO (Kenya); Kristi Lozano, San Mateo Credit Union (USA); Elenita V. San Roque, Association of Asian Confederation of Credit Unions (Thailand); Triza Tsiga Magreta, Mudi SACCO (Malawi); and Kortoe D. Woloquelli, Trust Savings Credit Union Women’s Organization (Liberia).

World Council also presented the Credit Union Ambassador Award to Crissy Cheney in recognition of her volunteer work at the Busia Compassionate Centre in western rural Kenya.

In addition, conference co-hosts Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA) presented its 2014 CGU AM Institute Emerging Leader Tertiary/Vocational Education Scholarship Awards to Ben Picton, Greater Building Society; John Athanasou, Community First Credit Union; Nikki Hutson, Railways Credit Union; and Kirsty Maher, Hunter United Credit Union. The 2014 Bridges COBA Emerging Leader Award went to Ryan Holman, Beyond Bank Australia.

The 2014 World Credit Union Conference ended 30 July. Visit to download conference presentations, news and photos.

Next year, World Council and the U.S. Credit Union National Association (CUNA) will co-host the 2015 World Credit Union Conference in conjunction with America’s Credit Union Conference on 12–15 July 2015 in Denver, Colorado, USA.

World Council of Credit Unions 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, 57,000 credit unions in 103 countries serve 208 million people. Learn more about World Council’s impact around the world at

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