OAS FCU and the credit union principles: #6, cooperation among cooperatives
All cooperatives around the world follow seven basic principles. As a cooperative, our credit union does, too. That’s why today we’re going to tell you about OAS FCU’s efforts in the sixth principle: cooperation among cooperatives.
There are many ways in which a credit union can cooperate with those around it. Here’s how it works for us at OAS FCU.
We are an international credit union. However, at the local level we have relationships with the many Select Employer Groups where our members work. By assisting these employer organizations, we establish close working ties that assist both the organizations and our members. We also strive to help our members directly by providing help to their clubs and social organizations.
For a common good
Our cooperative efforts don’t end there. We collaborate with a series of other credit unions to acquire large scale services. This cooperation allows us to obtain such services with more favorable contracts: because we share with other credit unions, we’re a more attractive, bigger client to the service providers. These companies offer us better terms. That’s why we have higher quality products and services, at a smaller cost per member. Examples of this collaboration are the company that offers you investment services, Cetera Advisors, and our new core platform.
Let’s think bigger. A few decades ago, a group of credit unions saw the possibility of competing with banks by creating a network. They did this in order to offer shared branches and surcharge-free ATMs to the members of all credit unions who joined; that’s how the CO-OP network came to be. Because OAS FCU belongs to the CO-OP network, our members can use thousands of shared branches nationwide, and North America’s largest network of surcharge-free ATMs, bigger than any bank’s.
The creation of the CO-OP network was a feat of shared responsibility towards credit union members. Still, many credit unions have decided that they can take cooperation even further.
This is why credit union and cooperative leagues exist: you can find them at the local, state, regional, national and international levels. You also find that all of them work together for the greater good. OAS FCU collaborates at each one of those levels.
OAS FCU’s role
The products and services that our credit union offers belong in the high-end of the quality scale. We are also one of the rare credit unions to function bilingually in absolutely everything we do, such as this blog. OAS FCU was the first to allow members to request international ACH transfers from their online banking platform. We were global pioneers, before any other bank or credit union. Our technologies, the dedication of our volunteers and the way our staff serve you aren’t something you see often.
This possibly explains why global credit union organizations ask OAS FCU to host visiting exchange groups from other countries. And we’re happy to oblige.
The visit from Kenya SACCOs
Leaders from several Kenyan Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) visited OAS FCU in mid-December. This visit was organized by the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU).
Our volunteers and staff provided a series of presentations and chats on different topics: operations, new initiatives, technology and other areas of interest to our visitors. We had the chance to learn about the work of credit unions in other countries, and to establish friendships with people of other cultures.
The visit from Mexico’s delegation
The Credit Union National Association (CUNA), the World Credit Union Network (WNET) and Mexico’s Cooperative Circle organized a visit in the Washington DC region for Mexican credit union leaders. This delegation visited us in January.
The purpose of their visit was to learn about the experiences that credit unions here have with the Latino and international market. They also sought to establish long-term cooperation bonds for cultural exchange and the sharing of best practices. This group seeks to join a network to streamline remittances for their members, from the United States to Mexico.
OAS FCU organized several chats and a question and answer session in order to share our experiences.
Both the Kenyan and Mexican delegation’s visits also included an enriching social interaction for everyone present. Our staff and volunteers had the chance to socialize with people of other cultures; people with whom they shared a willingness to offer something better to their groups. We find that this is a very worthy goal, and were honored by their visits to our offices.