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Michigan St. Lucia leagues sign partnership
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (5/19/08)--The Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL) and the St. Lucia Credit Union Co-operative League made their international partnership official at a signing ceremony in Grand Rapids, Mich., Thursday. The World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), which now oversees 29 such partnerships, including St. Lucia/Michigan, in its International Partnerships Program, was also represented at the ceremony.
Pictured at the signing of an World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) international partnership agreement between the Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL) and the St. Lucia Co-operative League are, from left: Alan Babcock, MCUL vice president of credit union relations; Catherine Roberts, WOCCU board secretary and CEO of Community Choice CU, Livonia, Mich.; David Adams, MCUL president/CEO; Victor Miguel Corro, WOCCU international partnerships manager; Alexander Joseph, CEO, St. Lucia Co-operative League; Emmerlyn Monrose, manager, St. Lucia Civil Service CU; and Rupert Branford, director of Elks CU and of the St. Lucia Co-operative League. (Photo provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
The signing ceremony took place during the MCUL’s 2008 Annual Convention and Exposition. Attending from St. Lucia were Emmerlyn Monrose, manager of St. Lucia Civil Service CU; Rupert Branford, director of Elks CU and of the St. Lucia Co-operative League; and Alexander Joseph, CEO of the St. Lucia league. “We are very happy and appreciative that the WOCCU and the MCUL have effectively started a partnership with St. Lucia, a developing credit union movement with lots of room to grow,” Joseph said. “The MCUL and credit unions have expressed a keen interest in getting to know other movements and cultures, which demonstrates the cooperative spirit of our movement. We look forward to making key achievements,” he said. “We would like the credit unions in St. Lucia to see how mergers work and study their advantages and disadvantages,” said Victor Miguel Corro, International Partnerships manager for WOCCU. “We’d also like them to better understand marketing strategies that will help them attract new members and satisfy the needs of the members with sophisticated, updated and relevant credit union products and services.” "Strengthening the credit union system worldwide is a vital effort for the future of the industry, and the St. Lucia partnership is an excellent opportunity to help do this,” said David Adams, MCUL president/CEO. The partnership will help support WOCCU’s technical assistance project in St. Lucia, designed to shore up the country’s credit unions so they can provide stronger support to the island’s farmers. Many of the farmers lack the resources to grow produce, primarily bananas, to sell to the luxury hotels that are part of the island’s growing tourist industry. WOCCU plans to ask MCUL for assistance in conducting market studies to determine the quality and capabilities of St. Lucia credit unions’ agricultural lending programs to support those efforts, said Matt Garcia, a WOCCU program manager. “Helping island farmers become self sufficient is vital to their survival in a rapidly changing island economy,” Garcia said. “Thanks to the Michigan league’s generous involvement, we’ll be better able to accomplish that goal.” Two MCUL staff members visited St. Lucia in November 2007 to conduct a needs assessment and familiarize themselves with the people and culture. An island nation approximately 28 miles long and 13 miles wide, St. Lucia is home to 15 credit unions. Approximately 150,000 people call St. Lucia their full-time home, with one-third of the population belonging to a credit union.
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