International Partnership First Announced Winner Of Wegner Award

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The National Credit Union Foundation announced that this year's Herb Wegner Award for Outstanding Program will honor the partnership among the World Council of Credit Unions, the California and Texas CU leagues, and the Caja Popular Mexicana.

In 2001, Mexico's largest CU was struggling with nearly 20% delinquency, annual net losses and members losing confidence in the safety of their deposits, the NCUF said, adding that the partnership among WOCCU, CCUL, TCUL and CPM changed all that.

Over the last four years, CPM has reduced delinquency from 18.7% to 4.5%, built assets from $427 million to $1 billion, achieved positive returns on assets, increased membership by 83% and grew youth savings accounts for an astounding 2005%.

The less tangible benefits also speak for themselves, according to NCUF. The partnership helped to bring U.S. Congressional staffers to Mexico to meet members whose lives were touched by the credit union. "The staffers were convinced that helping credit unions through legislation expanding their scope of service is worthy," Corro reported. "When these officials left Mexico, there was no doubt in their minds that there exists a credit union difference. As the staffers put it, 'We don't see banks having these types of relationships.'"

The American counterparts in the partnership also saw benefits in the form of a greater understanding of how to serve the Hispanic population in the U.S., the NCUF said.

This is the first of three awards to be celebrated at the Herb Wegner Memorial Awards Dinner at the Hilton Washington on Feb. 26, 2006, during CUNA's Governmental Affairs Conference. The two other Wegner awards will be announced in the coming weeks.

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