Paraguay CU Reps Get Tour, Advice In Minn.

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Representatives of Paraguay's credit union trade association (CENCOPAN) who have been touring this state as guests of the Minnesota Credit Union Network took time to visit with St. Marys Federal Credit Union (SMFCU) for an afternoon of agricultural lending and technology discussions.

The four Paraguayans, along with an interpreter, were visiting Minnesota as part of their newly-formed relationship with the Minnesota Credit Union Network through of the World Council of Credit Unions' (WOCCU's) Partnership Program. The group toured the credit union and a dealership that sells John Deere machinery and parts, and fixes equipment for area farmers. "I was impressed with the good relationship that the credit union had with the dealership, allowing farmers to have better equipment," said Modesto Segovia Boltes of CENCOPAN.

CENCOPAN and its member credit unions are heavily involved in agriculture, as the credit unions in Paraguay fall under the umbrella of the Department of Agriculture. The main goal was to explain to the Paraguayans the process of Minnesota credit unions' agricultural lending programs and develop an understanding of the differences.

"Credit unions in Minnesota finance fixed assets, like tractors, which is something we do not do in Paraguay," said Francisco Barcel? Garc?a of CENCOPAN. Garc?a said that such a key difference "opened his eyes" to additional services that credit unions may be able to offer to production cooperatives in their country.

Following the dealership visit, staff from SMFCU did various presentations on products and services, security systems, home banking and online check images. The group also visited Mid-States Corporate Federal Credit Union's Eagan, Minn..

Later, the CENCOPAN representatives met with members of the World Council of Credit Unions and the MCUN to sign a formal partnership agreement as part of WOCCU's Partnership Program.

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