Brandi Stankovic, Mitchell Stankovic and Associates, returned June 18 from the inaugural World Council of Credit Unions Cooperative Learning tour, studying credit unions in Ecuador.  Thirteen participants from four countries participated in the one-week intensive experience.  

The group spent several days with Cooperativa Jardín Azuayo (CJA), a credit union founded to address community reconstruction needs following a landslide disaster in 1993 that destroyed the town of Paute.  CJA does no formal advertising, yet has grown from 10,000 members in 2000 to more than 70,000 through word of mouth.  CJA pays 250 percent of prevailing wages, yet was recognized as having one of the lowest businesses operating costs in South America.