California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues President and CEO Diana Dykstra recently conducted a workshop on governance and strategy with the board of directors of Federación Nacional de Cooperativas de Ahorro y Crédito (FENACOAC), Guatemala’s national credit union trade association.
During the April 8 visit to the Central American country, Dykstra—along with FENACOAC CEO Oswaldo Oliva and World Council of Credit Unions Vice President of the Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions Victor Miguel Corro—also visited with the Superintendency of Banks to advocate for credit union-specific regulation.
The Leagues have partnered with FENACOAC since 2009 as part of World Council's International Partnerships Program, which seeks to connect developed and emerging credit union movements to form collaborative and mutually beneficial partnerships. Learn more about World Council's International Partnerships Program at www.woccu.org/partnerships.
Dykstra’s short visit started with a meeting with FENACOAC's full board and senior staff to discuss planning, strategy, and how to forge a vision of the future in an organization. She emphasized the difference between board vs. staff responsibilities.
“The level of cooperation between FENACOAC and the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues has helped propel the federation’s board of directors and their initiatives,” said Oliva.
In the afternoon, Oliva, Dykstra, and Corro visited with the technical staff from the Superintendency of Banks, Guatemala’s credit union regulator. Dykstra was asked about how the industry in the U.S. is regulated. The technical staff is working on a draft that will ultimately result in a credit union law in Guatemala. The Superintendency had asked for help in getting case studies for countries in which credit unions are successfully regulated and where the risk is well managed. World Council provided the study.
"The trip was invaluable in a number of ways, one of which was to be able to share information with Guatemala’s credit union regulator to help in the agency’s development of regulations that will be beneficial to the country’s credit unions and its members," Dykstra said.
Guatemala's MICOOPE system—implemented in 2008—comprises 25 credit unions that adopted a unified brand to help with public awareness, ease of transactions throughout the country and growing credit union membership. Currently they have 1.2 million members. MICOOPE is essentially self-regulated, with FENACOAC acting as the monitoring agent.
Among the next steps for the partnership between the Leagues and FENACOAC is a visit from members of the technical staff of the Superintendency of Banks as well as MICOOPE with the California Department of Financial Institutions later this year.
In addition, The Leagues will share with MICOOPE the basic educational tracks for credit union CEOs’ continued educational opportunities. Using the information, MiCoope plans to develop a curriculum/lecture guide and then a training program. The training program may result in experts from California traveling to Guatemala for training and/or Guatemalan CEOs traveling to California.
Additionally, Diana was invited to participate in FENACOAC's 50th Anniversary in November in Guatemala.