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Brazilian CU execs learn about modern farms in Texas
DALLAS (7/21/10)--Credit union executives from SICREDI, one of Brazil’s leading credit union organizations, now have a better understanding of milk production and the important role credit unions can play in solving farm issues, said the Texas Credit Union League. Twenty high-ranking staff and board members from SICREDI joined league officials on a tour Friday of two dairy farms in Stephenville and a credit union that is actively meeting the needs of area farmers, said the league. Marcos Fritzen, manager of resources administration with SICREDI, said the group was extremely impressed with the level of care the dairy farmers provide their animals, and the commitment of the farmers to producing a quality milk product. They also were impressed with the broad range of products and services Members Trust of the Southwest FCU in Stephenville offers to support agricultural growth in their community. “The goal of this tour was to provide our credit union partners in Brazil with greater insight into modern farming; the issues and concerns they face in daily operations, and to connect them with Texas credit unions like Members Trust of the Southwest FCU, who are meeting their unique needs,” said Bob Gallman, the league’s chief operating officer. Last week, the league and SICREDI, a trade association for 128 Brazilian credit unions, signed a “People to People” partnership at The 1 Credit Union Conference in Las Vegas, opening the door for the exchanges of ideas and best practices between the two organizations. Agricultural cooperatives are strong in Brazil, and many credit unions in Brazil started out serving farmers. Brian Gilbert, president/CEO of Members Trust of the Southwest FCU, said he appreciated the opportunity to engage in dialogue with SICREDI, noting that there are few agriculture credit unions in Texas. Collaboration between the league and SICREDI will continue in September, with a four-week visit by 11 SICREDI staff to the league and its member credit unions to get a better sense of how U.S. credit unions approach operational, marketing and member service issues. “SICREDI has had business relationships before, but never with another credit union organization,” said Manfred Dasenbrock, chair of SICREDI. “There is always room for learning from others, and we expect there to be a lot of idea-sharing and exchanges that will make all of our credit unions even better.” “We are enthusiastic about this new partnership with SICREDI,” said league President/CEO Dick Ensweiler “While they are a relatively young movement, they are quite sophisticated. I’m extremely impressed with the level of cooperation that exists between SICREDI’s member credit unions, and I’m confident that this will be a mutually beneficial relationship.”
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