Jun 02 '22

World Council of Credit Unions Moves to Filene’s Madison Office

Two credit union system organizations come together in unique way allowing for new collaborations and partnerships.

Filene Research Institute invites World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) to share space in its Madison office located in the Lyric building on East Washington Ave., starting at the end of summer.

Much like many businesses experienced during the COVID-era, the question around what to do with under-utilized physical workspaces arose for Filene. Meanwhile, the pandemic transitioned WOCCU staff to a remote work setting, causing the organization to rethink what it needed in an office.

Filene had explored preliminary stages of sub-leasing a portion of its Madison office space prior to the start of the pandemic to share with other local credit union organizations and invite more credit union connections, perspectives, and voices to be part of Filene’s network. As resumption continues out of the pandemic and staff return to in-office work, Filene sees the value in engaging in a shared space with WOCCU to deepen knowledge of credit union opportunities and challenges around the world.

WOCCU sought to move somewhere that could accommodate their staff and that of Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions, Global Women’s Leadership Network and WYCUP, with flexibility in terms of the physical office space and more opportunities for collaboration.

Filene's Wisconsin Office sits in the heart of downtown Madison, WI.
Photos by Romulo Morishita

“We are extremely excited about the opportunities now available to WOCCU for further collaboration with Filene by sharing space with them in their Madison office,” said Paul Treinen, Executive Vice President of WOCCU. “Filene has always been a great partner with World Council over the course of our history and I have no doubt that will only grow in the coming years with this move.” 

In its 51-year history, WOCCU has only had two homes. It began operations at Filene House, just east of the Yahara River at 1617 Sherman Ave. in Madison. In 1950 when the building was first dedicated, President Harry Truman was present for the ceremony of Filene House, a memorial to Edward Filene, founder of the credit union movement in the United States. By the time WOCCU moved in in 1971, they represented 56,000 credit unions with 40 million members in more than 70 countries. World Council then moved to the Credit Union Center with CUNA and CUNA Mutual Group in Madison in 1979, where they remained for the next 42 years.

"The in-person ‘accidental collisions’ Filene has experienced among staff and with others across the credit union system have been invaluable to advancing ideas and creating new opportunities."

"We are thrilled to have WOCCU joining us in our Madison office,” said Filene’s Chief Finance and Operations Officer, Patsy Stewart. “The in-person ‘accidental collisions’ Filene has experienced among staff and with others across the credit union system have been invaluable to advancing ideas and creating new opportunities. With WOCCU in our office, we can continue to expand our credit union network and proactively enable those crucial connections.”

Today, WOCCU represents more than 86,000 credit unions with 375 million members in 118 countries. Filene moved to its current Madison office in 2017.

A look inside Filene's offices.
Photos by Romulo Morishita