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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Bahamas credit union officials visit Massachusetts League and credit unions

A group of eight credit union executives from the Bahamas traveled to Massachusetts for a four-day educational exchange as part of an ongoing partnership with the Massachusetts Credit Union League and the Bahamas Cooperative Credit Union League.  The trip, which was coordinated by the World Council of Credit Unions, took place from April 21 through April 25.

The ongoing relationship between the Bahamas Cooperative Credit Union League and the Massachusetts Credit Union League has proven to be mutually beneficial, according to Rob Kimmett, SVP Marketing for the Massachusetts Credit Union League, “Over the past eight years we have had seven different educational exchange visits, in Massachusetts and in the Bahamas.  Each one has produced great insight for the credit unions of each country.”  He went on to say, “We are able to help our Bahamian friends with information about product development, strategic best practices, and new communications techniques.  They help us understand the value of our cooperative roots and provide us with a fresh way to look at the business.”  

During their visit the group was able to take advantage of two major credit union events which were taking place that week.

The group included the following prominent members of the Bahamas credit union community: Leroy Summer, assistant general manager, Teachers and Salaried Workers Credit Union; Charlene Stuart, executive assistant, Teachers and Salaried Workers Credit Union; Bertram Dorsett, financial officer, Public Workers Credit Union; Anita Collie, executive assistant, Bahamas Law Enforcement Credit Union; Pauline Burrows, general manager, Grand Bahama Credit Union; Kimberly Russell, operations supervisor, Grand Bahama Credit Union; Bryan Butler, loans manager, Bahama Islands Resort Credit Union; and Stephanie Missick-Jones, general manager, Bahamas Cooperative Credit Union League.

One was the CU 4 Reality™ Fair at the Sheraton 4 Points in Leominster.  This fair is put on by six credit unions and attracted over 700 middle school students from north central Massachusetts.  The CU 4 Reality™ financial education curriculum greatly impressed the visitors and they left with the materials necessary to implement a fair in their country.  

Later that day, they traveled to Lowell to visit Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union to learn about the extensive program of financial education services that this credit union provides to the community.  A presentation of Jeanne D’Arc’s financial education program was given to the delegates by Vice President-Financial Education Anne-Marie Bisson and Senior Vice President-Chief Marketing Officer Michelle Silveira.  Members of the group asked a myriad of questions, seeking information that will help them better serve the members of their own credit unions in the Bahamas.

The other big event that the group had the chance to participate in was the Great New England Credit Union Show on April 24 at the Holiday Inn in Boxborough.  The show attracted hundreds of credit union officials and suppliers who networked and participated in numerous educational sessions.  The visitors came away with a wealth of information about cutting-edge ideas and techniques. 

On the first and the last day of the visit, the group visited the League offices in Marlborough and participated in a series of workshops and discussions designed to meet educational objectives that had been established in advance of the trip. 

On Monday, League President Dan Egan welcomed the group and spoke with them about the services that the League provides to credit unions.  He then went on to provide an overview of best practices in Legislative and Regulatory advocacy.  Chief Operating Officer Bonnie Doolin followed with a look at governance principles with a special emphasis on how governance issues impact staff members.  Charlotte Whatley, vice president, compliance services, finished up the day's program with a discussion of best practices in compliance.  Despite the fact that the specifics of credit union legislation, governance, and compliance are markedly different in the two countries, the day’s programs, with an emphasis on practices and procedures, found much common ground.

The final day of the exchange was Thursday, April 25, and that was reserved for marketing.  Jon Reske, VP of Marketing from UMassFive College Federal Credit Union, joined the visitors and facilitated a workshop on Branding and the integration of cooperative principles in financial marketing.  UMassFive College has had a great deal of success using this positioning strategy and it was particularly on target for the Bahamian credit union officials as their organizations identify very closely with cooperative principles and the other cooperative businesses that do business in the Bahamas.  

This session concluded the scheduled events for the fast-paced visit.  Fortunately, there was a little time for recreation and networking.


Posted by Rob •
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