Financial experts and policy advisers serving nine European Union countries visited Clackamas Federal Credit Union as part of a multicity fact finding tour of U.S. financial markets. The delegation wanted to explore the differences between banks and credit unions and how credit unions navigated the global financial crisis.
The “European Regional Project” participants were invited to the United States under the auspices of the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program. Countries represented were Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia and the United Kingdom. The delegates are employed in high-level roles in their native countries, such as advisers to prime ministers, portfolio strategists and parliament members.
As part of their visit to the Portland metro area, the team was able to visit the headquarters of Clackamas FCU in Oregon City, Ore. Led by Clackamas FCU President Diann Owen, a team of senior managers walked the visitors through the cooperative model and gave examples of how member loyalty and service are fostered in their locally operated credit unions. There are no shareholder dividends to pay and each account holder gets to vote for the volunteers who serve on the board of directors, giving local consumers unique voice in the financial arena, the visitors learned.
“We very much enjoyed the opportunity to meet and engage in dialog with financial experts from these various European countries,” said Owen. “It was interesting to exchange financial concepts, models and policies with them, as well as learn more about the credit union structure in their countries.”