Mexican Executives with the Alianza Federation of Credit Unions Visit Meriwest Credit Union

Greg Meyer
Meriwest Credit Union
Community Relations Manager
Direct Line: 408-365-6328                                                

SAN JOSE, CA – August 25, 2011– Five executives from Mexican Credit Unions came to Meriwest Credit Union to learn how U.S. credit unions are managed. The executives were part of the Alianza Federation of Credit Unions, an alliance of credit unions that have banded together to gain savings by consolidating operations and other services. Alianza represents more than 170 credit union branches and serves more than 350,000 members throughout Mexico. The visit, arranged by the World Council of Credit Unions, was intended to help these executives learn the details of how U.S. credit unions are managing the various forms of risk, loan underwriting, loan collections, as well as understanding marketing,  branding and branch development. The executives were treated to topic specific business presentations from Meriwest’s senior staff on these aspects of credit union management.

The all day program included a tour of the Meriwest Credit Union home office facility in San Jose led by Meriwest Spanish speaking staff. Bilingual staff provided support and translations during the visit of the Alianza executives as both guides and translators.

“Thanks to all our new friends at Meriwest for their incredible hospitality and willingness to share with the delegation from Alianza.” said Thomas Belekevich, Representative with the WOCCU who served as the execs main translator.  “It was evident that the initiatives which your CEO, Chris Owen, mentioned in his presentation to foster a culture of cooperation among your staff have been very successful. You have an impressive team and it was obvious that you all enjoy working together and being part of something bigger.” 

“This was a great opportunity for us to share our best practices with executives from another nation’s credit unions. But it was not the differences between our organizations that impressed me; I was struck by the similarities.” said Christopher Owen, President and CEO of Meriwest Credit Union. “As the presentations went on, we discovered that we had very much in common. We all had to contend with the same issues in staffing, operations, risk, and normal business functions. In many ways, the only thing that separated these managers from us was the difference in our languages.”

Our visitors were:


Credit Union

Title – English

Ignacio Chichitz Miranda

Federación de Cajas Populares Alianza

Operations Manager

Rafael Montes Johones

Federación de Cajas Populares Alianza

Systems Support

Sara Amador Tamayo

Caja Popular Tanhuato


Oscar González Valdés

Caja Popular La Merced S.C.L.


Jesús Arbizu Rubio

Caja Popular La Merced S.C.L.

President of the Board of Directors

Following are  comments from the visiting executives:

“If you had one word to describe the Meriwest Credit Union, it would be “Hospitality”. If you described with a word of their success, it would be “integration.” The word for this trip – Thank You.”

”The experience shared by Meriwest Credit Union will be very important for our cooperative in Mexico. For us, we have some important knowledge that will give us the opportunity to improve the service and highlight the difference in savings and credit cooperatives. Despite the differences that exist between our (nation’s credit union) movements, it became very clear that we share the commitment to improve the well-being of our members and the passion of being part of an important movement in today’s world.”

“We saw that we face some of the same challenges that demonstrate the importance of integration and cooperation between credit unions. There are important opportunities for collaboration in the areas of regulation, compliance, lobby and defense.”

About Meriwest Credit Union

Meriwest Credit Union, one of Silicon Valley’s largest and established financial institutions, has been providing proactive, personal, convenient and innovative financial services to over 83,000 businesses and families throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Tucson, Arizona, for more than 50 years. More information can be found at

About the Alianza

We are a federation that promotes and integrates Credit Unions, giving quality specialized services, based on the cooperative philosophy and sound financial practices which contribute to its development. Our Vision is to be an economic model – humanist, in a network with advanced technology, consisting of cooperatives that maintain financial leadership.

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