Unitus Community Credit Union and New Zealand First Credit Union partner in exchange program

Portland-based Unitus Community Credit Union and Hamilton, New Zealand-based First Credit Union come together to share insights and knowledge during weeklong program

PORTLAND, OR (April 14, 2023) — Unitus has sent two employees to Hamilton, NZ for a one-week intensive program to exchange knowledge, ideas, and deepen their relationship with First Credit Union, New Zealand’s first affiliated credit union to the worldwide movement.

The exchange program, launched in 2019 by Unitus CEO and World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) Board of Directors Member Steve Stapp, is an opportunity for both credit unions to share insights, learn about a new culture, and exchange best practices to strengthen each credit union. Stapp, who organized the exchange with First Credit Union Chief Executive Simon Scott in 2019 and 2023, says the exchange is “an enriching experience that provides the unique opportunity to live the credit union and cooperative model in action through development and international advocacy.”

Two Unitus employees made the trip to Hamilton, New Zealand for the 2023 exchange program: Megan Snyder, AVP of Strategic Partnerships, and Rose Halford, AVP of Training and Strategic Implementation. They spent one week working at First Credit Union’s Hamilton, NZ headquarters, visiting a number of branches and community partners to meet teams, key partners, and learn operational best practices, as well as experience the local culture.

One such community partner is Frankton Park, a First Credit Union partner that provides secure and affordable residential homes with 24-hour, seven-days-a-week support and care to people with traumatic and/or acquired brain injury without compromising their privacy and dignity. Frankton Park achieves this by supporting their independence as they worked towards regaining physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional well-being. With identity, language, culture and rehabilitation underpinning the values of their organization, Frankton Park’s approach is relevant to all cultural groups in Hamilton, New Zealand and the surrounding area.

“It was inspiring to experience the firsthand dignity and quality in caring for those in need that Frankton Park provided,” said Megan Snyder. “We had a chance to meet with their CEO, Daryl Brown, and learn more about the positive and solutions-focused approach they take with both their services and each individual client.”

“Credit unions coming together to learn from one another and make a lasting and meaningful impact on each other and their communities is what makes this industry special,” said Simon Scott, Chief Executive of First Credit Union. “This exchange program, and experiences like these, allows our employees and partners to share their knowledge and expertise as well as help us grow as a team and a credit union. It also demonstrates the global reach of the credit union philosophy of ‘people helping people.’”

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 104,000 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

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. The 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 of Credit Unions at

About First Credit Union

First Credit Union, 100% Kiwi owned and operated, became New Zealand’s first affiliated credit union in 1955, then known as St. Mary’s Credit Union. They are a member-owned financial institution that makes personal finances easier to manage with personal loans, savings accounts, term investments, insurances, and everyday banking accounts. Learn more about First Credit Union at


Autumn Foster

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