Leagues from Indiana, Dominica agree to increase collaboration

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The Indiana Credit Union League and the Dominica Co-operative Societies League Ltd., have signed an agreement to increase international cooperation by sharing best practices, strategic initiatives and other information.

The World Council of Credit Unions recently arranged for credit union leaders from Dominica to visit Indiana, Wisconsin and Washington, where participants learned about American credit unions’ practices related to agriculture lending, micro-finance and risk analysis. WOCCU said the visit and the agreement are part of the international trade group’s efforts to increase collaboration by cooperatives.

The agreement was signed by John McKenzie, president of the Indiana league, and Phoenix Belfield, general manager of the DCSLL. The ICUL represents 154 credit unions with 2.5 million members and assets of $27.9 billion. The DCSLL has 76,130 members from six credit unions and combined assets of $326 million.

Dominica is an island nation in the Caribbean Sea that is not related to the Dominican Republic. Dominica suffered heavy damage from Hurricane Maria in September 2017. One year later, Brian Branch, president and CEO of WOCCU, visited the island. Branch was accompanied by representatives of the Indiana CU League as the organizations offered assistance to Dominica’s credit unions, including raising more than $200,000 as part of a recovery initiative to benefit Dominica, Puerto Rico and other regions recovering from the storm.

“We have been very impressed by the dedication and efforts of the leaders of the DCSLL and Dominica’s credit unions,” John McKenzie, president of the Indiana CU League, said in a statement. “They are advancing the crucial role of credit unions to help families and individuals in Dominica build a stronger financial future. We were pleased to assist them through our delegation going to their country in September and hosting them in Indiana this week, and look forward to the continuing partnership.”

DSCLL’s Belfield emphasized that “Cooperation among cooperatives should not be a cliché, but rather concrete actions rooted on the core ideology of cooperativism.”

While WOCCU, Indiana and other industry partners have made moves to increase ties among cooperatives, he added, “The wealth of experience and knowledge of the ICUL will provide immeasurable benefits to the credit union movement in Dominica in the areas of compliance, advocacy, corporate governance and strategic planning, and enhanced best practices.”

This story was updated at 2:53 P.M. on April 23, 2019.

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Collaboration Ag lending Microfinance Risk analysis Growth strategies Hurricane Maria Disaster recovery WOCCU Indiana Dominica