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ACCU 33rd Development Education Course

The Australian Mutuals Foundation is proud to be the Australian Credit Union Development partner of the Asian Confederation of Credit Unions (ACCU).

The ACCU was founded on 28 April 1971 and operates as a regional trade and development organisation of credit unions and other cooperative financial institutions in Asia. ACCU partners with national credit union associations to promote and strengthen financial cooperatives enabling them to help improve the lives of those who use their services.

From 11 – 17 June 2023, ACCU hosted its 33rd Development Education (DE) Course in Bangkok, Thailand. The course runs as an educational workshop and gives participants the opportunity to develop leadership, presentation and communication skills while gaining an appreciation of Credit Unions and how they are making a difference in people’s lives all over the world.

38 participants attended the seven day course, with the Australian Mutuals Foundation pleased to have offered scholarships to three Australians from Australian Mutual Bank, G & C Mutual Bank, and Unity Bank to experience the collaborative opportunity and widen their understanding of global credit union systems.

ACCU will be hosting its next DE Course in November 2024, with the Australian Mutuals Foundation once again offering scholarships for three Australians to attend.

The 2023 scholarship winners share their insights and experiences on the 33rd DE Course.

Gaylene Quitadamo - Unity Bank

The DE Program is all about developing presentation skills, leadership skills and knowledge of the current issues affecting the viability and growth of credit unions to equip all graduates with the knowledge and skills to be effective leaders in their credit union families.

My Batch (33rd) was attended by representatives from Australia, Philippines, Nepal and Indonesia. Let me say, this workshop is not for faint hearted. It is intense but I can honestly say I embraced every minute. The workshop was delivered in such a professional way by the Mentors, it was well structured and was an engaging learning opportunity, while all at the same time extremely enjoyable and fun. The hands on activities, group discussions and expert wisdom and guidance from the Mentors created an environment of active learning and skill development. It was a dynamic and challenging experience that pushed all delegates’ boundaries, got us out of our comfort zone and encouraged us all to explore new ideas and collaborate with others.

I have walked away from this workshop with a broadened knowledge of the credit union movement, developments on critical issues facing credit unions in Asia and how credit unions can contribute to the community. In addition, I have further developed my presentation and leadership skills to have the ability to confidently speak as a staff member of a credit union, whilst proudly upholding credit union values. From a professional and personal perspective, it has been one of the most rewarding workshops I have ever attended.

Apart from the knowledge I have gained as a DE Graduate, the friendships I made will be friendships for a lifetime. We were one big family by the end of the week, all sharing the same values, all working for credit unions and all inspiring to help others. All delegates now have a deeper understanding of the roles we all play in enriching the lives of others, our members, our colleagues our families and the world in general.

At the commencement of the course, Australian Mentor, Paul Dawson addressed all delegates and said “You will not be the same person as you are today, when you complete the course”. I wasn’t real sure what to think of this but I can wholeheartedly say, Paul Dawson was 100% correct. My passion for credit unions and what they stand for has intensified and I feel more confident, knowledgeable and motivated as a Development Educator to further instill the values and principles of credit union to others, as well as share all of the knowledge I was lucky to gain from the Program.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Australian Mutuals Foundation for the opportunity to attend the DE Workshop. It was an incredibly enriching experience and I am truly thankful for the knowledge gained, the inspiring speakers and the chance to connect with fellow credit union employees from abroad. I feel very privileged and will be forever grateful.

Peter Jensen - Australian Mutual Bank

The purpose of the Asian Credit Union Development Education Workshop is to communicate and promote the unique role credit unions in cooperative development and to assist in obtaining support for credit union programs worldwide. It is a wonderful opportunity to get a better understanding of the great work various mutual organisations are doing throughout Asia and also throughout the world. While attending the course you gain an understanding of the credit union movement and the opportunity to develop personally.

Additionally I’ve met wonderful people who work in a variety of locations throughout Asia. At the workshop, these individuals share their experiences of the day-to-day life and how, although we are all working in mutual organisations, a lot of them experience different members that we would never experience in Australia.

Kyle McKinstry – G & C Mutual Bank

Over the course of a week, my co-participants and I attended a plethora of educational lectures and reflected upon a variety of topics relevant to the sustained future of the global cooperative and customer-owned banking movements - including sustainable development goals (SDGs), financial wellness, promoting entrepreneurialism, and climate action. The intensive workshop also strived to actively develop our leadership and effective presentation skills and ignite our confidence and passion for the shared mission of our organisations.

The Development Education Workshop connected participants from Australia, Indonesia, Nepal, and the Philippines. The cultural differences, prominent at the start of the course, quickly melted away in the face of our passion to collaborate and learn from each other and our shared experience working for customer-owned organisations.

My team consisted of seven participants from the Philippines and one from Indonesia. It was interesting to learn about their experiences and the issues that they were most concerned about, in particular, improving the culture of saving, promoting further regulation and risk culture, and continuing the effort to manage delinquency and curb corruption in their countries.

I was quick to appreciate the differences in our experiences and reflect on my own experience of the environment in Australia. Though enlightening, I felt an accompanying sense of shame that we, as Australians, aren’t doing enough with the gifts we have been given. It was these frequent, small experiences that ignited my passion to become a more effective advocate and refuse to waste the privileges afforded to me.

Customer-owned banks have a unique position to be more actively and personally involved in the lives of members and their communities. This is an area I’d like to strive to innovate in and an area that I believe larger, for-profit banks do not have the flexibility and agility to efficiently serve.

The 33rd Asian Credit Union Development Education Workshop was such an incredible learning opportunity. The experiences and learnings I had over that week will last a lifetime and have ignited my passion to continue to develop my knowledge of customer-owned banking, advocate and innovate for the benefit of our members and their communities.

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