New chair for World Council of Credit Unions

Plus credit union award winners and the first State of the Movement Speech by Elissa McCarter LaBorde

The World Council of Credit Unions (Woccu) appointed Diana Dykstra as chair following its annual general meeting on 18 July.

Dykstra is the CEO of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues (USA) and has been a Woccu board member since 2016. She will serve as chair for a one-year term through July 2023.

“I just want to thank you for this honour, and I really look forward to working with you in the coming year. Thank you so much,” Dykstra told delegates at Tuesday’s general session.

She succeeds Rafał Matusiak (president of the National Association of Co-operative Savings and Credit Unions (NACSCU) of Poland), who has been serving as chair since 2020.

The AGM also re-elected Woccu board directors Manfred Dasenbrock (Brazil), Charles Murphy (Ireland), George Ototo (Kenya) and Joseph Remy (Caribbean) to two-year terms.

Current directors Dallas Bergl (USA), Joe Thomas (USA) and Michael Lawrence (Australia) were also appointed to two-year terms while Jeff Guthrie, the new President and CEO of the Canadian Credit Union Association (CCUA), was also appointed to a two-year term. He replaces outgoing CCUA President and CEO Martha Durdin.

Credit unions awarded for digital innovation

Carma Parrish (center) accepts a Woccu 2022 Digital Growth Award on behalf of Northpark CCU (Image: Woccu)

During the AGM, Woccu presented the 2022 Digital Growth Awards, which were first introduced in 2021.

This year’s winners were Northpark Community Credit Union (USA) and Sicredi (Brazil).

Northpark Community Credit Union (USA) received a Digital Growth Award for its Virtual Branching initiative, which was developed and implemented to deliver on a goal of closing all brick-and-mortar branches in favour of e-services and ATMs.

“We cannot underserve the underserved and we have to meet them where they are,” said president and CEO Carma Parrish, accepting the award. “And I have so much respect for meeting people where they are, not where we are.”

Estefane Chaves (left) and Elisandro Rinaldi accept a 2022 Digital Growth Award on behalf of Sicredi (Image: Woccu)

Meanwhile, Sicredi received a Digital Growth Award for CPR Facil for its first 100% digital agribusiness product, which allows members to take out loans using a mobile phone.

“CPR Facil is making such a difference to build a better society and also changing our members’ lives. We hope that this case can be spread to other credit unions down the road,” said Estefane Chaves, a Rural Credit Analyst who accepted the award on behalf of Sicredi.

Distinguished Service Award

WOCCU also presented Marshall Boutwell, president and CEO, Peach State Federal Credit Union (USA), with the 2022 Distinguished Service Award. The accolade recognised his long history of engagement with credit unions in Poland and Great Britain.

Marshall Boutwell (Image: Woccu)

Speaking of his experience working with credit unions in other countries, he said: “This has been the most extraordinary experience in my lifetime. It has broadened my horizons, it’s made me a better co-operative leader, a better leader of my own credit union — more open to lots of different people from lots of different areas. And this is indeed a great honour”.

Global Women’s Leadership Forum and Athena Award

On 16 July Woccu’s Global Women’s Leadership Network (GWLN) Forum brought together women credit union leaders to explore a range of topics around leadership.

Global Women’s Leadership Network (Image: Alan Peebles)

The Forum heard from Laurie Maddalena, chief leadership consultant, Envision Excellence, LLC, who encouraged women credit union leaders to promote themselves and their worth in the workplace.

“I like to turn to what I call my inner coach and not let my inner critic make the decisions. Our inner coach is that wiser self. I like to call it our higher self, our best self, who has our best interest in mind in helping us reach our personal and professional goals,” she said.

Patsy Van Ouwerkerk

World Council of Credit Unions’ president and CEO Elissa McCarter LaBorde also announced Patsy Van Ouwerkerk as the 2022 Athena Award recipient.

Named after the goddess of Greek mythology, the Award is presented to an individual or organisation making an outstanding contribution to women’s leadership in the international credit union movement.

Van Ouwerkerk formed part of the inaugural advisory group that launched GWLN in 2009. She has also served as GWLN’s fundraising committee chair and member and as co-leader of the Sacramento Sister Society.

The Athena Award is inspired by the goddess of Greek mythology who stands for strength, courage, and wisdom and is presented to an individual or organisation making an outstanding contribution to women’s leadership in the international credit union movement.

WYCUP scholarships

Woccu runs a WYCUP Scholarship programme which enables young credit union professionals to attend its conference in-person.

The programme is open to nominees who are 40 or younger, have made significant contributions to their credit union or financial cooperative system and have the potential to make a global credit union impact.

The winners of the 2020 and 2021 scholarships were recognised during the final general session of the 2022 World Credit Union Conference on 20 July.

2020-21 WYCUP Scholarship recipients (Image: Woccu)

“It’s more important than ever before that we invest in our networks — that we have spaces to share and learn from one another, and in the process understand that we have more in common than our superficial differences. We have a shared interest in the success of people everywhere,” said Thomas Belekevich, WYCUP Director. “So today we are here to celebrate young leaders from around the world and the connections they have made through this global network that we call WYCUP.”

New members to the International Credit Union Development Educators programme

The Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions (WFCU) welcomed six new members to the International Credit Union Development Educators (I-CUDEs) programme.

The I-CUDE Class of 2022 was recognised during a July 18 celebration event at the 2022 World Credit Union Conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

Some of the new members being recognised at the WCUC in Glasgow

The new members are:

  • Katrina Grant D’Aguilar, Jamaica (CaribDE)
  • Kevin Lashley, Barbados (CaribDE)
  • Angela Prestil, USA (NCUF)
  • Anne Owuor, Kenya (Africa DE)
  • Patrick Kiage, Kenya (Africa DE)
  • Paul Norgrove, U.K. (DEEU)

First State of the Movement speech by Elissa McCarther LaBorde

Woccu president and CEO Elissa McCarter LaBorde delivered her first “State of the Movement” address during Monday morning’s general session at the 2022 World Credit Union Conference.

Elissa McCarter LaBorde (Image: Woccu)

“If we really want to maximise our potential we have to focus on our strengths, we have to double down on our strengths,” McCarter LaBorde told an auditorium full of international credit union professionals.

She talked about the strengths of the credit union movement, namely, the number of credit unions and members, the diversity in the types of credit unions and the ability to be disrupters in the financial services sector.

“Some of you have heard this expression—you gotta go big or you gotta go home. So, I really think we gotta go big,” said McCarter LaBorde. “There are still 1.4 billion people who are unbanked. And I would argue another three billion, in the data I have seen, who are underbanked, who don’t have good financial choices and affordable credit. And that is where we are here as credit unions, with a business model that truly serves that purpose.”

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