Representatives of credit unions in Panama are in Iowa for a four-day exchange with the Iowa Credit Union League. Murray Williams is the spokesman for the Iowa group that’s headquartered in Des Moines. He says they want to generate an international partnership that will benefit both parties.
Williams says Iowa is one of several states that are working with credit unions in other countries. Williams says the World Council of Credit Unions helps partner state credit union organizations with countries that have developing credit unions. He says Panama has had credit unions for some time, but their credit unions aren’t as developed as Iowa’s and they need some regulatory and legislative support.
Williams says the Panamanian credit unions are regulated as coops and they want to change that regulation. Williams says the Panamanian credit unions are looked the same as an agricultural or electric coop, so he says the regulators don’t have any particular expertise in credit union regulation. He says the Iowa organization will try to help them develop their own credit union code.
Williams says they Panamanians have several stops scheduled, including a conference today in Des Moines on credit unions. He says they’ll sign an international partnership agreement, and then will go to the state capital to meet with legislators and regulators. Williams says the Iowa Credit Union League represents all but one of the credit unions in Iowa.