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News Now

CU System
Brazil CUs have growth aspirations cooperation
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (1/28/08)--Growth and cooperation are the keynotes of the UNICRED Brazilian credit union system, said a member of the small group of U.S. credit union executives taking part in the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) Brazilian Engagement Program last week.
Dr. Denise Damian, UNICRED Brazilian credit union system president/CEO, taught a course Friday on financial management to credit union members as part of the World Council of Credit Unions Brazil Engagement Program conducted last week for a small group of U.S. credit union executives. (Photo provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
UNICRED is a credit union system serving Brazil’s healthcare sector. It has roughly 140 member credit unions, serving more than 153,000 members through 396 points of service in Brazil’s 27 states. Growing membership wisely is UNICRED’s main goal, Rod Staatz, president/CEO of State Employees CU, Baltimore, told News Now. One credit union in Rio de Janeiro seeks to grow from its current 20,000 member-level to 50,000 members, Staatz said. “Credit unions in Brazil and the U.S. both are interested in growth,” Staatz said. “They also have the same challenges in several respects. Brazilian credit unions have to keep up with the services that banks are offering and also need to raise sufficient capital to do so, which is similar to the situation that U.S. credit unions face.” As for differences between the countries’ systems, the U.S. can learn from the higher level of cooperation among Brazil’s credit unions, Staatz said. UNICRED has 140 credit unions banded into nine groups trying to standardize products and back-office procedures, he added. “This paves the way for reduced costs and a standard brand,” Staatz explained. “UNICRED is basically working toward offering the same products and services--the same brand--for all 140 of its member credit unions.”
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