Nwamaka Peter (left) and Chantal Uwamariya are managers of their credit unions in Nigeria and Rwanda, respectively. They participated in the annual international co-operative mentoring program at Coastal Community Credit Union. (Photo courtesy of Brittany Halicki)

Local credit union mentors banker managers from Africa

International mentoring program allows for exchange of ideas, culture

Coastal Community Credit Union (CCCU) hosted two credit union leaders for the women’s mentorship program.

The program is a week and a half and was developed by the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada. CCCU has 24 branches across the Islands and the two women spent time at different branches.

Chantal Uwamariya is the manager of Cooperative of Progress and Financing Ineza in Muhanga, Rwanda and Nwamaka Peter is the manager of Vizoko Thrift and Credit Co-operative Society Ltd. based in Abuja, Nigeria.

Uwamariya’s credit union started with a single employee and has now grown to a staff of 21 and four branches in two districts.

Sheri Gauthier, manager of workplace planning and talent management at CCCU, said Peter and Uwamariya have the same goals for their customers as CCCU has for theirs: improving financial health for members and serving the community. Peter and Uwamariya are trying to grow their credit unions while managing risk, which is an area they focused on while they were on the Island.

They met the board and CEO of CCCU and attended branch manager meetings, shadowed employees, and surveyed a mid-year planning session in human resources. The job shadow included loan portfolios, reducing loan delinquency, leadership, governance and marketing.

Gauthier said Peter really enjoyed learning about the culture here and admired how passionate the staff at CCCU is, hoping to take what she has learned and engage her employees so she can grow her credit union.

Gauthier said CCCU gets as much out of the program, “growing relationships in the global community and an exchange of perspectives.”

As part of the program the two women stayed with host families so they could fully experience Island life, and both enjoyed spending their downtime by the ocean.

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