MADISON, Wis. -- A high-level delegation of U.S. credit union leaders was slated to wind up a special 12-day trip last week to remote provinces in China as part of a World Council of Credit Unions project on rural co-op development.
"The trip follows up on an invitation sent to WCCU last April by Chinese government officials and regulators to help spearhead development in the poorest provinces," said a WCCU spokeswoman.
Among the U.S. delegates on the trip are Arizona CU League President and WOCCU Chairman Gary Plank, California CU League CEO Bill Cheney, and Corporate One FCU CEO Lee Butke.
Also in the group are three California CEOs, Patsy Van Ouwerkerk, Travis CU, Vacaville; Larry Sharp, Arrowhead, CU, San Bernardino; and Barry Jolette, Redwood City. Jolette is also second vice chair of WOCCU.
Brian Branch, WOCCU executive vice president and chief operating officer, is leading the delegation, also joined by Penny Reeves, WOCCU director of St. Albert, Alberta, Canada and director of the Central Union Central of Canada; and Sarah Canepa Bang, CEO of Financial Service Centers Co-op. San Dimas, Calif.
Two others making the trip are: Dwayne Naylor, executive vice president, Langley FCU of Newport News, Va. and former CUNA President Ralph Swoboda, Middleton, Wis.
In a statement, WCCU said it hopes it can help China to "provide greater opportunities for its people by bringing international credit union best practices to the rural credit co-operatives" in credit and savings services.
The purpose of the visit, said WCCU, is for U.S. and Canadian officials "to learn more about co-operative banking in China" and how WOCCU might help.