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HARAHAN, Louisiana – Sylvester Kadzola, President/CEO of the Malawi Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives (MUSCCO), visited the Louisiana Credit Union League the week of Nov. 18th to learn from league officials how they manage their products and services, and about the relationship between the League and its regulatory agencies. Malawi is a small country in the southern part of Africa that has a population of about 10 million. Its citizens are served by banks and for the past 22 years, by not-for-profit savings and credit cooperatives, the Malawi term for credit unions. Malawi has 72 savings and credit cooperatives that serve approximately 62,000 members. MUSCCO is the trade organization that works on their behalf. “My time in Louisiana has been very eventful,” said Kadzola. “Many of the things that the Louisiana League has shared with me I will be able to adapt and implement immediately back home.” Louisiana League President/CEO Anne Cochran extended Kadzola the invitation to visit League offices after the two met earlier this year at a credit union conference. “I was here to observe the League’s management techniques and its delivery of products and services to credit unions, such as governmental affairs, technology, marketing and public relations. But I was most interested in learning more about the credit union shared service center concept, the networking of credit unions to serve members all over the country. In the absence of shared service centers in Malawi, members have to use banks for such things as wire transfers and other financial services,” said Kadzola. “Shared service centers would enable our institutions to do so much more for their members.” Kadzola said he was also “particularly interested in the regulation of credit unions.” He explained that in Malawi, regulation is currently combined with the other functions of the league. “Our Cooperative Act was written before savings and credit cooperatives existed. We are hoping to introduce new legislation specifically covering savings and credit cooperatives, and we hope that will include the establishment of a separate regulatory agency,” he said. Kadzola, who has served as MUSCCO CEO since 1997, is also a member of the Board of Directors for World Council of Credit Unions, Inc. (WOCCU) representing the Malawi credit union movement. [email protected]

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