At the heart of the credit union movement is the importance of sharing ideas and gaining new information that will be helpful in promoting the “people helping people” work credit unions do.
Last week, nine credit union leaders from Georgia and two LSCU executives traveled to Oxford, England to engage in dialogue with credit union leaders from Great Britain. These discussions were designed to advance learning partnerships that have been established between the UK and Georgia CUs. Soon, Alabama and Florida credit unions will be invited to join in with their Georgia colleagues to extend the partnership experience. Several credit unions in Britain are currently looking for partners.
ABCUL Chief Executive Robert Kelly welcomed the delegation on Sept. 30th for a productive discussion comparing each other’s sectors, trade bodies, challenges and opportunities moving forward. After the joint discussions, the Georgia credit union partners traveled to the location of their British partner CUs to engage in targeted talks.
“The key thing is that these partnerships are two-way learning experiences built around CU operations, strategies and cultural insight,” said Mike Mercer, CEO of the LSCU. “We learned from our near-25 year partnership with the credit unions in Poland that the American partners always tell us that they get far more than they give, in the way of knowledge and strategic thinking. Already, it has been the same with our British friends.”
According to Kelly, “It was also a chance for both newly-established partnerships and those that have been established for a while to continue to build the personal relationships which drive the value that both sides derive from this ongoing learning and knowledge exchange. I know that our members were also very much looking forward to welcoming their partners to their local areas and branches up and down the country as part of the visit and to continue to build synergies and relationships.”
Before the partnership with Great Britain, GCUA partnered with Poland to demonstrate cooperative principles in action. The Georgia-Polish partnership model became the standard for other international partnerships worldwide. The strategic consolidation with LSCU will strengthen the partnership opportunities. LSCU CU leaders that might be interested in getting involved with the international partnership program should contact Diana Houston in the Duluth office.