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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The exchange of credit union ideas were on the agenda during a recent trip to Suriname by Truliant Federal Credit Union and the North Carolina Credit Union League. Marcus Schaefer, president/CEO of the $983 million Truliant along with John Radebaugh, president/CEO of the North Carolina Credit Union League, visited the South American country to exchange ideas about the movement here and there. The meetings were held with representatives from various credit unions in Suriname, including Godo Credit Union and De Schakel Credit Union. Schaefer lived in Suriname several years ago. At Schaefer’s recommendation, NCCUL entered into a formal partnership with Suriname’s credit unions in 1998 under the International Partnerships program of the World Council of Credit Unions “There are a lot of differences between credit unions in North Carolina and Suriname,” said Schaefer, “but credit unions in both places are not-for-profit financial cooperatives dedicated first-and-foremost to helping people reach their financial goals.” That point was made clearly when Schaefer and Radebaugh watched a videotape showing how people in Suriname were being helped by credit unions. “We saw furniture makers and child care workers thanking credit unions for helping them when no one else would,” said Schaefer. Radebaugh agreed, adding, “It’s the same kind of story we hear all the time here in North Carolina. It reminds us there is powerful common ground between us.” The WOCCU International Partnerships program pairs credit unions in developing countries with those in developed countries to promote mutual knowledge exchange and growth.

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