LATHAM, N.Y. -- The New York State Credit Union League has broken new ground by accepting as an associate member its first Puerto Rican Credit Union, the league has announced.
The Abraham Rosa Cooperativa is the first Puerto Rican credit union to take advantage of the opportunity, which was fostered in part by the World Council of Credit Unions. Abraham Rosa's arrival culminated an effort to further cooperation between credit unions on the island and in New York State that began in August 2005.
As associate members, the Puerto Rican credit unions will have all the rights and abilities of members short of sitting on the board and the ability to vote, according to League General Counsel Mike Lanotte. In particular they will have access to league compliance resources.
Lanotte reported that the island, which is a U.S. territory, has about 14 federally chartered credit unions and between 130 to 140 credit unions that are the equivalent of state-chartered CUs. All these credit unions face similar compliance requirements to state-chartered CUs on the mainland.
"I look forward to this next step in our partnership with the New York league," said Luis L??pez, president of Abraham Rosa. "I am confident that the league and our credit union will both benefit from this enhanced relationship."
"We couldn't be happier with the growth and expansion that has occurred as a result of this unique partnership," said Lanotte. "It becomes more evident as the partnership develops that both partners are learning from one another. The league provides a level of specific credit union operational and technical support, while the credit unions, based on the manner in which they approach serving their members and working with others, provides a blueprint on how the credit union philosophy can be lived on a daily basis."
Lanotte explained that even though there might appear to be vast cultural differences between credit unions in New York and Puerto Rico, many of the regulatory and compliance issues remain similar.
Puerto Rican credit unions have to face the same sorts of Bank Secrecy Act and other sorts of federal regulations that state-chartered credits unions face, he explained. In addition, as associate members, the Puerto Rican CUs will be able to take advantage of preferential pricing and other relationships that the league has established. For example, as associate members, Puerto Rican CUs will be able join the shared branching and care organizations affiliated with the league, Lanotte pointed out.
"It is very rewarding seeing Puerto Rico and New York credit union systems cooperating," said Victor Miguel Corro, international partnerships manager, for WOCCU. "In the end, it's the member who we worry about and they are the focus of this partnership.
A similar partnership with credit unions in the U.S. Virgin Islands has also been expanded.