The Rundown

  • WOCCU pinpointed five new priorities in September 2011 when Brian Branch took over as CEO.
  • The organization continues deep involvement in international credit union advocacy.
  • WOCCU's training and education programs allow for global exchanges of ideas.

Just like the 14,000 member credit unions it supports, the World Council of Credit Unions in Madison, Wis., must intermittently reevaluate its structure and programs in order to best meet the needs of those it serves. In September 2011, 22-year WOCCU veteran Brian Branch became president/CEO when Peter Crear retired, and the global trade association and development agency underwent a reorganization, naming five priorities for its teams: membership expansion, deepening of global advocacy, project development, credit union network building, and international training and education.

Branch lists compliance burdens, multiple banking channel implementation and effective product branding as some of the primary challenges WOCCU is helping credit unions address worldwide. Using technology to help bring credit union services to rural areas and low-income consumers is another priority for WOCCU, he said.

In recent interviews with Credit Union Times, Branch, as well as Michael Edwards, chief counsel and vice president for advocacy and government affairs for WOCCU, and Victor Miguel Corro, vice president for WOCCU's Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions, explained WOCCU's latest projects and biggest challenges as they relate to the organization's five key priorities.

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Natasha Chilingerian

Natasha Chilingerian has been immersed in the credit union industry for over a decade. She first joined CU Times in 2011 as a freelance writer, and following a two-year hiatus from 2013-2015, during which time she served as a communications specialist for Xceed Financial Credit Union (now Kinecta Federal Credit Union), she re-joined the CU Times team full-time as managing editor. She was promoted to executive editor in 2019. In the earlier days of her career, Chilingerian focused on news and lifestyle journalism, serving as a writer and editor for numerous regional publications in Oregon, Louisiana, South Carolina and the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition, she holds experience in marketing copywriting for companies in the finance and technology space. At CU Times, she covers People and Community news, cybersecurity, fintech partnerships, marketing, workplace culture, leadership, DEI, branch strategies, digital banking and more. She currently works remotely and splits her time between Southern California and Portland, Ore.