Cooperation New CU cooperative announcement. (Photo: Shutterstock).

John McKenzie, president/CEO of the Indiana Credit Union League and Phoenix Belfield, general manager of the Dominica Co-operative Societies League Ltd., signed what the World Council of Credit Union called a historic cooperation agreement to foster greater collaboration between the two credit union movements.

The agreement announced last week will include technical cooperation, sharing of best practices and strategic initiatives.

The DCSLL has a consolidated membership of 76,130 members from six credit unions and combined assets of $326 million. The Indiana league serves 154 credit unions that manage an aggregate nearly $28 billion in assets and a membership of 2.5 million.

The agreement comes on the heels of Dominican credit union executives who recently visited Washington, D.C., Wisconsin and Indiana. This interaction is the third phase of a collaborative approach facilitated by WOCCU.

The delegation from Dominica benefited from strategic planning sessions and training with executives from the Indiana league, the Wisconsin Credit Union League and several of the organizations’ member credit unions. They learned strategies and practices related to agricultural lending, local micro-finance and adaptation, financial positions and risk analysis.

In September 2018, World Council President/CEO Brian Branch led a delegation of Indiana league members on a visit to Dominica, which was as part of WOCCU’s efforts to help the country’s credit unions recover from Hurricane Maria. The Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions raised more than $200,000 through its Caribbean Disaster Relief Fund to assist Dominica and the Dominica Credit Union movement. WOCCU also partnered with the Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions in providing support to the government of Dominica by providing tents and chairs to assist in the reopening of schools.

“We have been very impressed by the dedication and efforts of the leaders of the DCSLL and Dominica’s credit unions,” McKenzie said in a WOCCU prepared statement. “They are advancing the crucial role of credit unions to help families and individuals in Dominica build a stronger financial future.”

Belfield noted the importance of cooperation and its benefits among different credit union systems regardless of their geographical distance.

“The wealth of experience and knowledge of the ICUL will provide immeasurable benefits to the credit union movement in Dominica in the areas of compliance, advocacy, corporate governance and strategic planning, and enhanced best practices,” Belfield said in a WOCCU prepared statement.