MIRAMAR, Fla. - CU Business Capital, LLC is on a mission to bring the focus back to business deposit services and cash management. The entity is the nearly month-old CUSO formed through the $1.8 billion Eastern Financial Florida Credit Union. The CUSO will offer such solutions as technology, while working with existing core systems, branch training, product development, pricing analysis, and a host of services intending to enable credit unions to become strong competitors for local market business deposit relationships. "Credit unions have faced many challenges with the delivery of strong business deposit services, these have included technology, staff, operations, etc.," said Bert Bryan, president of CU Business Capital, adding while the movement has done "an excellent job on business lending," deposit services are just as important. "Eighty-three percent of borrowers will typically have their personal deposit accounts at the same financial institution as their business accounts," Bryan said. Business services offered by the CUSO run the gamut from account analysis checking, business debit cards and merchant processing to online cash management and payment collection services. "Without a strong business deposit services program, many credit unions run the risk of having their great borrowers go to the (financial institution) that can provide better pricing based on the entire relationship - business loans, business deposits and cash management and personal accounts," Bryan said. The idea of forming the CUSO sprang from a series of loan participations Eastern Financial had arranged with credit unions from around the country, Bryan said. "We started thinking about how we could help the movement grow and especially smaller credit unions that may not be as proficient at growing (their member base)," Bryan recalled. "`How can we be a good neighbor,'" and that's where the concept (for the CUSO) came from." For the first part of this year, Eastern Financial began hiring the right professionals to run the CUSO, which included Bryan, a 25-year veteran in banking and financial services who has worked at other credit unions to help implement their business deposit and cash management programs. Bryan, a Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) the highest certification for cash management professionals, has also been a key architect of both commercial lending software and cash management software and has been an instructor in those areas including at the Business Lending and Cash Management program at CUNA/University of Wisconsin Business Lending Institute. Other principals at the CUSO are Arnold Altman, senior vice president and chief credit officer; Roberto Barrocas, senior vice president and chief lending officer; Curtis Gamory, financial controller; and Lisa Reed, vice president of the cash management division. Eastern Financial actually began offering business services in 2003 and became an SBA lender in 2004. Since then, the credit union has partnered with Private Professional to offer its small and mid-sized business members access to outsourced benefits and services through The Business Advantage Program. Using pre-tax dollars, businesses can have access to pay for employee benefits and services such as payroll services - payroll tax deposits and filings; risk management and workers compensation; basic long term disability income replacement; basic group term life; administration of 401k; and group medical coverage, dental and vision care. CU Business Capital debuted at NAFCU's annual conference in July and since, then, a number of credit unions have expressed interest in signing on, Bryan said. On July 27, the new CUSO partnered with Boca Raton, Fla.-based Biz Lending Center to bring commercial lease and equipment finance programs to members. Bryan said many CU members require smaller equipment loans and commercial vehicle finance that can present a challenge for many credit unions. "(The) partnership will allow them to overcome this hurdle and offer competitive financing for this very large segment of members," Bryan said. While the movement's overall performance from delinquencies to charge-off is "outstanding," indicating that there are "very good borrowers" out there, Bryan said, those same borrowers are courted by almost every financial institution imaginable. On the lending side, CU Business Capital will still provide "distinct advantages" to credit unions originating and servicing both conventional and SBA loans including Web-based technology to provide streamlined and efficient application processing rather than a retail lending model. The CUSO also has a strategic planning program called Growth Acceleration Strategy or GAS, which aims to "fuel" membership growth. Training, best practices and procedures are available in a number of areas. "Credit unions can provide exactly what many of the 23 million small businesses are looking for, a membership lifestyle where you are not a number but a member, where personal relationships are very important," Bryan said. "In order for credit unions to survive today, they need to be able to offer their members a complete suite of commercial financial services." -email@example.com
Bringing the Emphasis Back to Business Deposits is Core Mission of Newly-Launched CU Business Capital, LLC
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