MADISON, Wis. and WASHINGTON (4/21/10)--Credit Union National Association President/CEO Dan Mica is part of a delegation of credit unions and organizations, led by World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) President/CEO Pete Crear, that will arrive in Haiti today to meet with credit unions and members suffering from the effects of Haiti's Jan. 12 earthquake. The delegation representing WOCCU, CUNA, state credit union leagues, and major credit unions and associations met in Miami Tuesday for a briefing from WOCCU staff and Kathleen Felix, the Haitian Diaspora liaison to Miami from Fonkoze, a Haitian microfinance organization with offices in the U.S. Discussion topics included the economic impact of Haitian emigration, financial literacy work and the impact of Haiti's underdeveloped financial infrastructure. More than 400,000 people in Haiti are served by 220 member-owned credit unions. Several credit unions were destroyed in the 7.0-magnitude earthquake. “Our challenge will be to help the strongest credit unions get back on their feet to help Haitians help themselves and their communities rebuild their lives through small loans and a safe place to save,” Mica said. While in Haiti, the delegation will visit several caisses populaires (credit unions), all of which have operated from tents since the destruction of their buildings. The tents are donated by WOCCU. (See resource link: “WOCCU tents help Haiti office stay safe, productive.”) WOCCU Haiti program director Greta Greathouse, who led the delegation, has taken on additional work of leading the credit union disaster relief and rebuilding efforts. WOCCU has been working with Haiti's credit unions since July in a project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development through the Academy for Educational Development. Mica and the rest of the delegation will visit damaged credit unions in Port-au-Prince and the earthquake epicenter at Leogane, to hear first-hand how the quake affected staff and members of the credit unions. (See resource link: “Haiti's CUs face grave issues on capital.”) Barry Jolette is the chairman of the WOCCU board. In addition to Mica and Crear, members of the delegation include:
* Sue Albrecht, senior vice president, international division, CUNA Mutual Group, Madison, Wis.; * Valerie Breunig, executive director, Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions, Madison; * Bill Cheney, president/CEO, California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.; * Josh Fetting, WOCCU partnership program director, Madison; * Virginio Gerardo, executive director, Asociacion de Instituciones Rurales de Ahorro y Credito Inc., Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; * Linda Hanson, vice president, strategic planning, Schools First FCU, Santa Ana, Calif.; * Bert Hash, president/CEO, Municipal Employees CU of Baltimore (Md.) Inc.; * Jose Joaquin Suriel, Asociacion de Instituciones Rurales de Ahorro y Credito Inc., Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic; * Fred Johnson, president/CEO, Credit Union Executives Society, Madison; * Barry Jolette, president/CEO, San Mateo CU, Redwood City, Calif.; * Alan Kaufman, CEO, Melrose CU, Briarwood, N.Y.; * Mike Muckian, WOCCU senior communications manager, Madison; * Cassie Rademaekers, WOCCU program specialist, Africa/Asia/Europe, Madison; * Brett Thompson, president/CEO, Wisconsin Credit Union League, Pewaukee, Wis.; * Ralph Wharton, CEO, Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions, Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis; and * Marlene Shiels, WOCCU board member and CEO, Capital CU, Edinburgh, Scotland.
More than 1,000 donors have contributed to the WOCCU Haitian Relief Fund, including U.S. credit unions contributing through CUAid. coop. The fund received more than $1 million in donations from the movements. For more information on the WOCCU Supporters program or the Haiti Relief Fund, contact Valerie Breunig, executive director of Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions, at firstname.lastname@example.org
or at 608-395-2055.