WESTBROOK, Me. – Officials from Japan's largest agricultural cooperative were recently hosted by the Maine Credit Union League and two credit unions to learn more about the movement here and to take pointers back to their native country. The Japanese delegation representing Norinchukin Cooperative Bank, which has $400 billion in assets, Toshihiko Nagai, Manager of Finance and Investment Research Division, and Arihiro Muroya, Chief Economist of the Finance & Investment Research Division, were "impressed by how focused Maine's credit unions are on serving members." As the fifth strongest credit union state in the nation, according to League data, Muroya said the tour "provided an excellent opportunity to learn the strategies and procedures of a successful business model that exists in credit unions." "Credit unions have been able to succeed by carving out a distinct niche in the market and providing excellent services to members," Muroya said. "What we have seen will enable us to reach out and better serve the Japanese people." Nagai was equally impressed with the cooperative spirit here telling League officials "after visiting several credit unions and gathering a wealth of information about the Maine credit union movement, I am left wondering how anyone could not be a member of a Maine credit union." Japanese officials also met with University Credit Union and Five County Credit Union here. From Maine, the pair visited several credit unions in Oregon before returning to Japan on Nov. 1.

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