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Arizona CU execs offer lending lessons in Antigua
ST. JOHN'S, Antigua (8/1/08)--Four Arizona credit union executives were in Antigua last week to share their lending knowledge and other industry information with the Caribbean island's financial cooperative community.
Robin Romano, right, CEO of Marisol FCU, Phoenix, leads a training session on loan underwriting for lending staff of Community First Cooperative CU, Antigua. (Photo provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
The visit was part of World Council of Credit Unions' (WOCCU) International Partnerships program. The Antigua & Barbuda Cooperative Credit Union League and the Arizona Credit Union System (ACUS) signed a partnership agreement in March under the WOCCU program. The relationship is one of 28 international partnerships operating as part of the program. Melanie Smith, assistant vice president of branch support for Arizona State CU, Phoenix, and Lisa Krogstad, learning development specialist for First CU, Chandler, offered member service training to the staff of all five credit unions in St. John's, Antigua's capital. Robin Romano, CEO of Marisol FCU, Phoenix, and an ACUS board member, provided training in loan underwriting to help credit union staff and credit committee volunteers better understand how to calculate debt ratio, use gross income standards and implement standardized loan policies. “Debt ratio management and assessing risk were two of the most important aspects of loan underwriting we covered during our training,“ Romano said. “The credit unions' loan portfolios would become more efficient if they were to implement a debt ratio and check the member's credit history by calling and verifying it with other financial institutions. "Currently, most credit unions in Antigua require the member to have 25% of the loan amount saved before granting the loan, ultimately limiting their loans. Using good underwriting skills allows them to be less afraid to make more loans," Romano said. During the visit, Mary Lee Blommel, ACUS member service consultant, and Josh Fetting, WOCCU's International Partnerships program specialist, facilitated the Antigua & Barbuda League's strategic planning session. League and credit union board members and credit union managers developed goals that would allow Antigua's credit union movement to grow through league involvement. By the end of the planning session, participants had crafted new mission and vision statements for the Antigua & Barbuda League, identified key areas of assistance and recognized possible league projects to provide assistance to its member credit unions. "I am optimistic about the future of the league after having completed our strategic planning sessions with the presence and input of the ACUS and WOCCU," said Ellis Southwell, president of the Antigua & Barbuda League. “We now have clear goals to take the Antigua & Barbuda Cooperative Credit Union League forward."
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