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Integration social networking key to Brazil CUs
PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil (1/25/08)--Integration of systems and operations, a cooperative structure, and attention to social networking are the keys to Brazil’s credit union system growth, according to a U.S. credit union executive currently visiting the country.
Pete Crear, left, World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) president/CEO, and Dick Ensweiler, president/CEO of the Texas Credit Union League, answer questions Thursday from Brazilian SICREDI credit union system staff, regarding the U.S. credit union movement’s youth and marketing efforts, as part of the WOCCU Brazilian Engagement Program. (Photo provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
Dick Ensweiler, president/CEO of the Texas Credit Union League, is a participant in the World Council of Credit Unions Brazil Engagement Program--which gives an overview of Brazilian credit unions to a small group of U.S. credit union executives. The group spent Thursday at a national credit union system headquarters in Porto Alegre learning about and discussing personal management issues, including recruitment, human resources and growth strategies. One of Brazil’s current major credit union systems--SICREDI--is only about 11 years old, so it is experiencing exponential growth, which often typifies a young system, Ensweiler said. “In Brazil, there is total integration--all credit union branches are part of one system,” Ensweiler told News Now. “They all have common back-room solutions, marketing, identification, and human resources through a central source that results in standardization. This is opposite of what you find now in the U.S. where credit unions not only differentiate themselves from banks, but also from other credit unions.” Going forward, U.S. credit unions should re-emphasize a cooperative structure, which they have drifted away from over time, Ensweiler said. The fact that credit unions are owned by their members, should receive more focus in the public arena, along with a re-emphasis of the idea of cooperative ownership, he added. “In Brazil, membership recruitment is done by making sure that credit union members are available to talk to other people in the community,” he explained. “Credit unions in Brazil pay attention to social networking. In the U.S., credit unions don’t use social networking--such as MySpace and Facebook--enough.”
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