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CUNA WOCCU inform foreign CU reps on advocacy efforts

WASHINGTON (12/15/11)—The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) teamed up this week to advise credit union representatives from nine countries on best practices for making sure the credit union point of view is heard by their legislators and government officials.

Through the two-day workshop at Credit Union House on Capitol Hill,  CUNA and WOCCU addressed more than 30 credit union representatives from Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Puerto Rico.

Click to view larger image CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney, right, discusses credit union advocacy with Mexico's Caja Popular de Ahorros Yanga CEO Margarito Saavedra, left, WOCCU President/CEO Brian Branch, left center, and and Fernando Rivera, project director for FEDECACES, El Salvador's credit union trade group, at the joint WOCCU/CUNA advocacy training workshop. (WOCCU PHOTO) 

"Each country has a different political system, but the basic principles of advocacy are universal," noted CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney, adding that the workshop gave examples of how they are applied in the United States and sparked discussions on how they may be applicable in Latin America.

WOCCU President/CEO Brian Branch said, "Today more than ever, we all need to strengthen our advocacy programs to address the increasing complexity of regulations and the increasing compliance burden. CUNA has been recognized many times over the years as one of the most effective advocacy organizations in the U.S. We are privileged that CUNA is sharing its expertise with other countries."

During the session, CUNA Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs Ryan Donovan said, overall, that lobbying efforts should be unified, clear and credible, and accompanied by an understanding of both allies and opponents to credit union efforts. And CUNA Senior Vice President of Political Affairs Richard Gose highlighted the added impact that grassroots work can have on credit union advocacy, saying an educated credit union member base is important to communicating directly with legislators and holding them accountable for the decisions they make.

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