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ASUNCION, Paraguay – Minnesota Credit Union Network Chairman Bill Raker represented credit unions at the annual international credit union conference he attended in Asuncion, Paraguay on May 31-June 4. This was the second international conference Raker, president/CEO, US FCU, Burnsville, Minn. and translator Victor Corro, WOCCU Program Specialist for Latin America and the Caribbean, have attended in Paraguay. They also attended the one held there in 2004 and spoke at that one as well. The 2005 conference was put on by the Central de Cooperativas del Area Nacional (CENCOPHAN). MnCUN and CENSOPHAN have worked together for the past two years and signed a formal WOCCU “Partnership Program” agreement in May 2004. Raker addressed the 400 attendees at the international conference on June 3 and outlined the findings of the technology assessment, discussed the challenges that credit unions face, and make recommendations on acquiring affordable technology and creating a network infrastructure. MnCUN said its partnership with CENCOPHAN has made a lot of progress over the past year. In May 2004, the two organizations chose three areas to focus on – legislation and lobbying, developing relationships with regulators, and technology. In September, a group of Paraguayans joined the MnCUN in a Hike-the Hill visit in Washington, D.C. Speaking at the conference, Raker told attendees, “It is an honor to be able to be the symbol and the spokesperson for credit unions in Minnesota and in the U.S. as we develop and enhance this partnership that we have in Paraguay. The people in Paraguay, especially the credit union leaders, are very anxious to have U.S. people participate with them because it raises their visibility and allows them to learn from our experiences.” – [email protected]

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