During the Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the 2023 World Credit Union Conference, the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) lauded pioneers in the field with the 2023 Digital Growth Awards and announced the winners of the inaugural WOCCU Fellowship program.
Prestigious Digital Growth Awards for Financial Inclusion and Innovation
The Co-operative Bank of Vietnam and the Unitus Community Credit Union (Oregon/USA) were the recipients of the 2023 Digital Growth Awards, acknowledging their efforts to implement digital solutions that foster financial inclusion, inspire innovation, and demonstrate scalability.
Unitus Community Credit Union was recognized for its “AZIE Mobile App,” a digital platform developed to connect members of Oregon’s Black community with local credit union financial products, services, and education that cater to their unique needs. Azie’s mission is to nurture financial and housing stability while fostering generational wealth.
Megan Snyder, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Portfolio Management at Unitus, said, “At Unitus, our focus is on inclusion, inspiring service, and innovation. Azie was a product of these guiding principles and was built to support an important collaborative initiative.”
The Co-operative Bank of Vietnam was awarded for “A Digital Ecosystem,” a ground-breaking solution that revolutionized cooperative financial services in Vietnam by offering diverse digital channels for member access to products and services.
Elenita San Roque, CEO of the Asian Confederation of Credit Unions (ACCU), accepted the award on behalf of the Co-operative Bank of Vietnam. The Digital Growth Award, first awarded in 2021, is an annual honor, recognizing credit union associations or individual member credit unions that demonstrate exceptional innovation in digitization.
Introducing the WOCCU Fellowship Recipients
WOCCU also announced Eleonora Zgonjanin (North Macedonia) and Patrick John Rico (Philippines) as recipients of the 2023 WOCCU Fellowship. This new program encourages young credit union leaders and women to participate as observers on the WOCCU Board of Directors, providing valuable insights and offering a unique learning experience.
Board Transitions and New Directors
WOCCU’s AGM also included a changing of the guard, with the election of Grace Badilla López, President of the Board of Directors for Federacion Nacional de Cooperativas de Ahorro y Credito Financieras (FEDEAC) in Costa Rica, to the WOCCU Board. López succeeds Jaime Chavez, representing the Colombian Federation of Credit Unions (FECOLFIN) on the Board since 2015.
Helene McManus of the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) Board was appointed to complete Charles Murphy’s term, who resigned his seat on the World Council Board.
Strengthening the African Voice
In a landmark decision, the WOCCU Board approved the promotion of the African Confederation of Cooperative Savings and Credit Association’s (ACCOSCA) from an associate to a direct member. This promotion amplifies the representation of African credit unions, granting them a stronger voice in WOCCU governance, and qualifying ACCOSCA for a seat on the WOCCU Board.
These announcements mark a transformative moment in the global credit union movement, reflecting the continuous efforts of WOCCU to empower credit unions through innovation, inclusion, and more representative leadership.