An exchange of ideas and best practices was on the agenda during a recent visit to Ecuador by representatives from the $1.8 billion BCU in Vernon Hills, Ill.
Bob Pondelicek, BCU director of mortgage sales, and José Cajigas, BCU regional director, traveled to Ambato, Ecuador at the end of May to establish an official credit union-to-credit union partnership with Cooperativa de Ahorro y Credito OSCUS Ltda. through the World Council of Credit Unions' International Partnerships Program.
The new partnership between BCU and OSCUS will allow both parties to directly exchange information, ideas and best practices in credit union operations, according to the World Council.
During the visit, Pondelicek and Cajigas, BCU visited three of OSCUS's rural branch offices to observe how the credit union helps underserved communities.
"This partnership breaks boundaries and marks a milestone in the Ecuadorian cooperative movement," said Federico Cuesta, OSCUS CEO. "Cooperative thought and willpower have built a new path of management and international integration."
The U.S. representatives also attended OSCUS's 50th anniversary celebration along with 800 credit union members and international delegates. During the celebration, the local government presented OSCUS with special awards for its community service activities, and BCU presented a special commemoration congratulating OSCUS on its 50 years of success.
"We are thrilled to embark on this journey with OSCUS and look forward to all we have to learn from each other," said Mike Valentine, BCU president/CEO.
The new partnership brings the total number of International Partnerships Program alliances to 20 across North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, South Pacific and Europe.
"Connecting OSCUS and BCU allows them to leverage their shared commitment to provide the best member experience regardless of whether it's in the suburban communities of Chicago or in rural Ecuador," said Victor Miguel Corro, Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions vice president, who oversees World Council's International Partnerships Program.