World Council Launches Second Year of International Credit Union Leadership Program

U.S. CU professionals invited to apply for scholarships to intern at Costa Rica CUs in June

MADISON, Wis. — World Council of Credit Unions is extending its International Credit Union Leadership Program to a second year, offering emerging leaders from Brazil, Costa Rica and the United States the opportunity to participate in intensive short-term credit union internships designed to broaden their professional expertise.

The International Credit Union Leadership Program is designed to facilitate idea exchanges, promote foreign language skills and cultural diversity and improve problem-solving skills as they relate to credit union development and management on a global basis. Participating U.S. credit union leaders will learn firsthand about methods to better serve an increasingly diverse membership, including youth, low-income and Hispanic members. The program will also enable credit union professionals from Brazil and Costa Rica to work alongside their American counterparts from U.S. credit unions to find solutions to similar challenges. The International Credit Union Leadership Program is part of the U.S. Department of State’s Professional Fellows Program and is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Office of Citizen Exchanges.

“The first year of the International Credit Union Leadership Program proved to be an eye-opening and transformational experience for both the interns and their host credit unions,” said Brian Branch, World Council president and CEO. “We encourage those who work so hard for their credit unions to take the time to step out of their environments and into an opportunity that will transform both their personal and professional outlook.”

The International Credit Union Leadership Program offers internship opportunities to 24 participants from the United States, 12 from Brazil and 12 from Costa Rica through an open application and interview process that evaluates applicants’ leadership skills, adaptability to new surroundings and potential to initiate change in their credit unions. Ideal participants have intermediate Spanish-language skills. The first application process for 12 U.S. participants to intern in Costa Rica, June 16 to 29, 2013, will open this April. The next internship opportunity for 12 U.S. participants will take place in Brazil in January 2014.

International organizations participating in the program include Federación de Cooperativas de Ahorro y Crédito de Costa Rica, which is the trade association for Costa Rica credit unions, and Confederacao Interestadual das Cooperativas Ligadas ao Sicredi of Brazil, one of the largest credit union networks in Brazil. U.S. partners include Credit Union National Association, the League of Southeastern Credit Unions & Affiliates, Texas Credit Union League & Affiliates and the Northwest Credit Union Association.

For more information about World Council’s International Credit Union Leadership Program, visit or contact Michael Suing at or +1-608-395-2075.

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, 51,000 credit unions in 100 countries serve 196 million people. Learn more about World Council’s impact around the world at

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