Portland credit unions build a bridge to Central America

Portland credit unions exchange solutions with credit union leaders from Central America to promote sustainable financial development worldwide

PORTLAND, OR (October 5, 2018) — Embodying the cooperative spirit central to the worldwide Credit Union Movement, local credit unions embraced their financial counterparts from worlds away, collaborating to host a distinguished delegation of Central American credit union leaders in Portland.

The guests, who represented critical credit union roles including CEO, Board Member, and IT Manager, visited in conjunction with the World Council of Credit Unions’ (WOCCU) Technical Internship program. The program enables geographically diverse credit unions to exchange challenges, ideas, and solutions in order to improve financial health for individuals and communities throughout the world.

From September 24 through September 28, the nine delegates and their interpreters aimed to absorb a wealth of information detailing how leading Northwest Credit Unions consistently improve service for their members and communities. “We walked them through nearly every part of our operations, starting with the work we do in the community, said Steve Stapp, President and CEO of Unitus. “We shared how we promote financial education, what goes into our regular strategic planning, how our systems support online and mobile banking, and how we monitor enterprise risk management to protect our members.” This was only day one of a five-day program that included tours and presentations at the headquarters of several other northwest credit unions.

“Each time we host one of these groups,” shared Stapp, “there’s always a great cultural exchange between Latin American countries and the United States. They want to see what’s happening here in Portland, discovering how local credit unions work to improve financial service and health for their members.”

This is only the latest international exchange initiative led by Stapp, who was elected Chairman of the World Council’s Board of Directors in July. Given his well-documented mission to help economically developing nations improve life for their citizens by integrating proven, people-oriented financial systems, it’s certain not to be the last.

“Hosting a forum for these Latin American credit unions provides two-fold benefits,” said Stapp. “It gives these credit unions a chance to learn about the amazing things credit unions are doing in the Portland area today and take those best practices back to their country. It also helps us to understand the financial challenges they are facing, what their needs are, and how we can help each other progress toward free and open financial services for everyone.”

About Unitus Community Credit Union

At Unitus, we’re dedicated to improving lives in the communities we serve. As a member-owned  local credit union, we invest in people by doing the right thing. Through partnerships with nonprofit organizations, we provide support for community groups through volunteerism and financial  donations. Our 105,000 members count on us to serve them and their communities; our 300+ employees share that passion for service. Learn about the local impact Unitus makes by visiting

About the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU)

The World Council of Credit Unions is the leading global trade association and development agency for credit unions and cooperative financial institutions. They promote the self-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. Learn more about the World Council is available at


Autumn Foster

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