This international partnership between the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues, the Texas Credit Union League, the World Council of Credit Unions, and Caja Popular Mexicana saved Mexico's largest credit union and made a lasting impression on U.S. Congressional staff.
This is the video shown at the 2006 Herb Wegner Memorial Awards, where Caja Popular Mexicana was honored with the Outstanding Program award by the National Credit Union Foundation.
More info on the Foundation:
More info on the Partnership:
The Caja Popular Mexicana (CPM) Partnership Project is a shining example of the credit union movement's cooperative philosophy. It's a cross-border collaboration of the California Credit Union League, the Texas Credit Union League, CPM, and the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU).
The partnership began in 2001 as CPM -- Mexico's largest credit union -- was struggling with nearly 20% delinquency, annual net losses, and members losing confidence in the safety of their deposits. CPM was a product of Mexico's economic crisis of 1995, which forced 62 credit unions to merge into a 325-branch conglomerate with no common policies. Despite their best efforts, this merger led to administrative gridlock and financial instability. By 2001, CPM was on the brink of failure.
WOCCU received funding through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to implement the CPM Partnership. Partner credit unions in California and Texas opened their doors to CPM directors, management, and staff. Their goals were to help improve CPM's efficiency, establish financial stability, and provide greater accessibility for people who most needed credit union services. The next four years brought countless cultural exchanges, site visits, infrastructure improvements, and new services.
During this time, CPM:
• Developed consistent internal controls across all 325 branches;
• Expanded its marketing outreach to women, children, and the poor;
• Opened a convenient call center;
• Installed a $10-million software solution;
• Designed an attractive presence on the World Wide Web.
The results are astounding. From December 2001 to June 2005, the credit union:
• Reduced delinquency from 18.7% to 4.5%;
• Built assets from $472 million to $1 billion;
• Achieved positive returns on assets;
• Increased membership by 83%, from 477,396 to 874,293;
• Grew youth savings accounts by 2005%, from 2,336 to 183,795.
In 24 of Mexico's 32 states, CPM now offers a trusted place where even the poorest members have a safe place to save.
Just as compelling as the financial results are the human benefits that stretch across borders. The partnership helped bring U.S. Congressional staffers to Mexico to meet members whose lives were touched by the credit union. The Congressional staffers reported that "We don't see banks having these types of relationships." The U.S. officials left Mexico convinced that legislation to expand credit unions' services would be sound public policy.
Another benefit of the partnership for U.S. credit unions is a better understanding of how to serve Hispanics. Credit unions in California and Texas have learned more about the Hispanic market and are now better equipped to embrace Hispanics as new members.
This success story is living proof that international partnerships help people on both sides of the border. The CPM Partnership has spread the credit union values of cooperation and volunteerism between credit union leaders in the U.S. and Mexico. It has created awareness of different cultures, and strengthened local communities through innovative outreach efforts. Most importantly, this partnership has translated into benefits for credit union members whose lives will be changed forever.
The vision and dedication of these four partners will serve as inspiration for leaders of the credit union movement for years to come.
Video Production by:
Bennett Marketing & Media Production, LLC