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N.C. league CUs host Mexican CU officials
GREENSBORO, N.C. (11/24/08)--Five executives from Caja Morelia Valladolid, one of Mexico's largest credit unions, visited the North Carolina Credit Union League and several state credit unions last week.
From left, Jeff Hardin, North Carolina Credit Union League director of communications, joins Caja Morelia's Alejandro Rojas and Homero Ambriz to learn about information technology at Truliant FCU, Winston-Salem, N.C.
Their visit was to help them better understand technology and for them to offer marketing tips and techniques to help the state's credit unions better serve Hispanic members. The delegation wasn't the only group of foreign credit union officials to visit the state in recent months. In October, two employees of Godo CU in Suriname visited to learn how to better achieve front-line efficiencies, handle growth and deepen member relations. Both visits were related to the league's partnerships with Caja Morelia and the Suriname Credit Union League as part of World Council of Credit Unions' (WOCCU) International Partnerships program. "Many questions are asked and ideas exchanged during these visits," said John Radebaugh, league president/CEO. "In the process, we all see that the worldwide credit union movement seeks a very powerful common purpose--finding new and innovative ways to serve the needs of members." North Carolina has one of the country's fastest growing Hispanic populations, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Between 1990 and 2000, that population grew 394%--to 378,963 from 76,726. Hispanics today comprise nearly 5% of the state's population. More than 65% of its Hispanic population is Mexican in origin, making Caja Morelia's marketing lessons valuable to participating credit unions. The Caja Morelia delegation spent a week touring credit unions, including Truliant FCU, Winston-Salem, where Truliant President/CEO Marc Schaefer demonstrated its advanced delivery technologies. Truliant uses home banking, video kiosks, and smart cards, and soon will implement a program to allow members to scan and cash checks from home. Homero Ambriz, Caja Morelia's IT manager, and Bob West, Truliant's chief information officer, also compared notes on system infrastructure, hardware and design, and programming, software development and data management.
Click to view larger imageThe Caja Morelia delegation visiting Latino Community CU, Durham, N.C., included, from left: Homero Abriz; Illiana Lopez; Amaury Coria Ramirez; Cristian Ramos; Luis Pastor, CEO of Latino Community CU; and Alejandro Rojas. (Photos provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
The delegation also discussed technology with Charlotte Metro CU, and learned about the importance of lobbying from Ryan Donovan, the Credit Union National Association's vice president of legislative affairs, who spoke at a chapter meeting during the visit. The group also met with Luis Pastor, CEO of Latino Community CU in Durham, where they discovered how a strong commitment to credit union philosophy has helped the community development credit union attract and serve members. “Among the very valuable things we are taking away from this visit to North Carolina are the actions credit unions take for preserving the essential principles of cooperation,“ said Amaury Coria Ramirez, Caja Morelia's database administrator. “The universal cooperative principles must be preserved.“ The delegation 's four-hour workshop at the league on marketing strategies to attract Hispanic members attracted more than 15 participants from eight credit unions. Iliana Lopez, Caja Morelia's marketing director, stressed the importance of recognizing the cultural differences and realities of current and potential Hispanic members and their families. Building trust and confidence is critical to attracting and retaining Hispanic members and credit unions should stress personal contact through community outreach and youth programs, Lopez said. Caja Morelia's marketing strategies include: "street promotions" such as parades and festivals; a credit union mascot to support youth marketing efforts; strategic alliances with other Hispanic social groups; and sports marketing, which includes sponsoring the local soccer team. Strong connections with the Hispanic community can also help North Carolina credit unions capture their share of the growing remittance market, Lopez added. North Carolina credit unions should have no trouble meeting the needs of Hispanics, said Alejandro Rojas, Caja Morelia's manager of planning and development. “We saw firsthand how credit unions successfully build trust and confidence with their members,“ Rojas explained. “They thoroughly support their mission and consistently strive to provide additional benefits and added value to members. That's something important that we have learned.“
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