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Texas Workforce CU Hosts Sicredi Interns
Monday, September 29, 2014 7:00 AM

Texas Workforce CU Board and Sicredi Interns
Texas Workforce CU Board and Sicredi Interns. From left to right: Mary Dunagan, President; Walter Silva, Sicredi; George Esquivel, Chairman of the Board, TWCU; Suzane de Almeida, Sicredi; Albert DeLaTorre, Treasurer of Board, TWCU; Lucas Barbosa Fedel, Sicredi; Geovane Martini, Sicredi; Jesus Garza, Board Member, TWCU.

Twelve credit union executives from Sicredi, a prominent financial cooperative in Brazil, spent nearly three weeks this September learning about the U.S. credit union system. As part of an initiative between the World Council of Credit Unions, the Cornerstone Credit Union League, and Sicredi, the 12 executives were split into three groups and shadowed the staff at host credit unions of various asset sizes throughout the region.

Texas Workforce Credit Union, a full-service institution with four employees and assets of less than $10 million, was one of the hosts in San Antonio. Mary Dunagan, the credit union's president, said she and her staff were very excited about the program.

"We made a welcome poster for them, and they were so gracious, my staff is ready to do it again—any time!" Dunagan said.

As a small credit union, the interns were able to shadow all of the employees, but Dunagan also invited them to sit down with her board members. With the board and the staff, the interns discussed the credit union's policies and procedures, compliance issues, regulations, financials, board relations, and member communication.

"The interns were able to meet and interact with quite a few credit union members," Dunagan said. "And our members really loved visiting with them."

Dunagan noted that there are many similarities in the way the Sicredi interns conduct business with their members back in Brazil, but also some differences in how things are done and the offerings available. For instance, when TWCU staff quoted a rate on a car at 3.25% per year, the Sicredi interns quoted theirs at 3.25% per month!

The interns were very excited about TWCU's savings programs and loan promotions and, in particular, the Super Star program for kids. Dunagan said they wanted to take home the policies and procedures for those programs because they didn't have something like that in place back home.

"There was a lot of good give and take on both sides," Dunagan recalled. Among the things her staff learned from the experience was that credit unions have the same philosophy worldwide. "One of the biggest takeaways from the experience for us was that it made us feel like part of the big picture, and that even as a small credit union, we can make an impact across the globe. We are small, but mighty."


About Sicredi

Sicredi is one the major cooperative systems in Latin America, and is distributed in 10 Brazilian states. To fully meet needs of members, Sicredi credit cooperatives are structured regionally into offices and receive strategic and technical expertise of Sicredi Confederation, Sicredi Cooperative Bank, Sicredi Credit Foundation and their holding company, which is the entity responsible for determining among other things compliance ethics and audit policies. Sicredi has a unified brand, as well as standardized policies, procedures and bylaws. Despite their shared identity, every Sicredi cooperative is still a unique and local institution, just credit unions in the U.S.