Five executives from credit unions in Mexico recently traveled to Meriwest Credit Union to compare management best practices.
Arranged by the World Council of Credit Unions, the visit was intended to help the visitors learn the details of how U.S. credit unions are managing the various forms of risk, loan underwriting, loan collections, as well as understanding marketing, branding and branch development.
The day-long visit also included a tour of Meriwest home office in San Jose, Calif. led by bilingual staff from the $1 billion cooperative.
The Mexican executives are a part of the Alianza Federation of Credit Unions, an alliance of credit unions that have banded together to gain savings by consolidating operations and other services. Alianza represents more than 170 credit union branches and serves more than 350,000 members throughout Mexico.
Meriwest President/CEO Christopher Owen said he was struck by the similarities between the two groups.
“As the presentations went on, we discovered that we had very much in common,” Owen said. “We all had to contend with the same issues in staffing, operations, risk, and normal business functions. In many ways, the only thing that separated these managers from us was the difference in our languages.”