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Sicredi Execs Ready to Take Home Ideas and Knowledge Gained from SCMS
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 6:50 AM

On Wednesday, two credit union executives from Brazil will be among the 31 to graduate from Southwest CUNA Managment School. Rodrigo dos Santos and Thiago Bratkowski Coutinho work at Sicredi – a leading financial cooperative group in Brazil. The Cornerstone Credit Union League, through the World Council of Credit Unions, signed a “people to people” partnership with Sicredi in 2010.

SCMS is a three-year course of study recognized in the credit union movement for innovative, intense, hands-on professional development. The two men share their thoughts on SCMS in the following Q&A: 

Question: What has the SCMS experience been like for you?

dos Santos and Coutinho: It has been a great learning experience with the speakers, but also among the students of our Class of 2014. This training has provided a strong exchange of experiences through the sharing of best practices in how to address challenges and opportunities for the credit union movement and in building a network for life.

Question: What has been most beneficial from the program?

dos Santos and Coutinho: Besides of the exchange of experiences in the classroom, this training has brought leadership building through the overview that the program covers. This is key to the formation of leaders in credit unions. Furthermore, the wide-ranging disciplines related to the day-to-day of a credit union, provides a complete training for leaders, which is essential to promote the business development, making us skilled to face the challenges.

Question: Having gone through SCMS, how will Sicredi benefit from your participation in the program?

dos Santos and Coutinho: During the sessions we had in SCMS, we developed two projects that will be important for Sicredi in two different areas: growth and operations. We hope that we can implement at least part of the proposals in our respective projects, bringing benefits for our credit unions and our members. Besides, we also will take home with us new ideas learned in SCMS classes, as well as through the projects that our classmates have developed.

Question: What is your greatest lesson learned?

dos Santos and Coutinho: Despite the differences between credit unions in Brazil and here, the challenges are very similar, such as growth, increasing products and services per members, improving efficiency and automation. In this scenario, the great lesson we’ve learned is that we have to strongly address the challenge of competition, finding ways provide a unique experience to our members so that we can keep growing. This will be the great challenge to credit unions in the coming years in order to face the increasing competition from retail banks. And we will have a crucial role in this work, as leaders in our credit unions.

Question: Why would you recommend SCMS to others?

dos Santos and Coutinho: For us, SCMS is a great learning environment, it’s challenging and it’s about exchange of knowledge. We would recommend SCMS for everyone who is part of a credit union. With our experience here, we hope we can help to make the SMCS become an international training. Having the opportunity to learn with credit unions in the U.S. was a sensational experience. We wish that not only Sicredi can send new students in the coming years, but credit unions worldwide as well.

The 42nd SCMS Graduation Ceremony will be held Wednesday, at Texas Christian University. To learn more about SCMS, please visit www.scms.coop.