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  • Writer's pictureKelsie Papenhausen

Former WOCCU President and CEO Brian Branch Accepts Herb Wegner...

...Outstanding Individual Achievement Award

Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions’ Chair Bill Cheney also recognized with U.S. credit union industry’s highest honor

WASHINGTON, D.C..—The National Credit Union Foundation Monday handed out Herb Wegner Outstanding Individual Achievement Awards to former World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) President and CEO Brian Branch and Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions’ (WFCU) Board Chair Bill Cheney at its annual Foundation Dinner, held in conjunction with Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC).

Dr. Branch retired in September 2021 after 31 years with WOCCU, serving as President and CEO during his final decade with the organization. During his career, he traveled to and worked in 104 countries, developing programs to start credit unions, conduct management training, expand outreach, build networks, improve regulatory environments and introduce technological innovations.

“Thank you for the work that you do for your members and your communities. And I thank the very many talented colleagues from the World Council and the credit union partners that I’ve had the honor to work with all over the world during my years. Asante sana,” Dr. Branch told attendees in his acceptance speech.

Bill Cheney joined the WFCU Board of Directors in 2017 and currently serves as its Chair. He has played an active role in the credit union movement for more than 30 years, beginning in community-based and employee-based credit unions, then as a leader in the state league system, the national trade group, and now as the CEO of SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union in Santa Ana, California.

“Please be an evangelist for credit unions. We need you and we need the people who understand our impact to speak up and be heard. Your voices here, as we meet with policymakers, and every day back home when you serve your own communities, tell the stories that we heard tonight of the unique ways credit unions impact ordinary people and help them do extraordinary things,” said Cheney.

Linda Bodie, Chief Executive Officer and Innovator of Element Federal Credit Union (West Virginia), and Winona Nava, President and CEO of Guadalupe Credit Union (New Mexico), also received Herb Wegner Outstanding Individual Achievement Awards Monday evening.

The Herb Wegner Memorial Awards are the U.S. credit union industry’s highest honor, celebrating innovators and changemakers in the credit union movement for 34 years.

World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development platform for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.

World Council has implemented 300+ technical assistance programs in 90 countries. Worldwide, 87,914 credit unions in 118 countries serve 393 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at


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