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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The partnership between the Alabama Credit Union League and the Costa Rican Credit Union Movement facilitated by the World Council of Credit Unions and formed in August, is on track to be finalized in early 2006. Fresh back from an introductory information gathering trip to San Jose, Costa Rica, League representatives were very excited about the partnership. ACUL Senior EVP/COO Vicki Williams, one of two ACUL representatives who made the trip said they were very impressed with the level of sophistication of the credit union movement in Costa Rica. “Based on our introductory meetings with FEDEAC R.L. management and board, we believe the agreement between Costa Rica and Alabama will make an excellent partnership arrangement. All the credit unions we met with indicated a high degree of interest in direct partnerships with Alabama credit unions and it was obvious during our discussions that we have much to learn from each other.” The partnership plans call for credit unions in Alabama to work with WOCCU and FEDEAC R.L., the trade association for Costa Rica’s credit unions, in identifying areas of cooperation and then proceed to develop a strategy for working together to share information and specialties. There are currently 70 active CUs in Costa Rica that serve a total of 490,545 members. WOCCU International Partnerships Manager Victor Corro observed “there was definitely great chemistry between the Costa Rica and Alabama credit union movements. It was effortless to find areas of cooperation and we believe this trip was a great start to the partnership.” He added that, “FEDEAC expressed that it has found a great ally in Alabama to further the scope of products and services to its member credit unions. Several individual credit unions, as a result of the recent visit, have voiced their desire to establish direct partnership with individual credit unions in Alabama too.” ACUL President/CEO Gary Wolter concurred on the success of the meeting, adding that, “It appears from our initial meetings that we are now poised to move on to the next step in our partnership.” He said the League plans to host representatives from FEDEAC and Costa Rican credit unions in Alabama in the spring and find the appropriate credit unions statewide to match them with for direct partnerships. `We are very excited about the many opportunities this creates, allowing us to share our collective knowledge and experiences,” Wolter said. -

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