RALEIGH, N.C. - Senior staff at State Employees' Credit Union enrolled in a local university's trust services program is one way Jim Blaine is ensuring they're prepared to meet with members. The CEO of the $13 billion State Employees' Credit Union has been in talks with officials at Buies Creek, N.C.-based Campbell University's Master of Trust and Investment Management program in its Southeastern Trust School to see if they might consider expanding courses to off-campus sites or implementing an online learning program. The four-year old program offers a graduate degree with a heavy emphasis in estate and trust administration, personal financial planning and other areas. Three of SECU's senior managers will graduate this fall with master's degrees, Blaine said. Blaine said more senior staff are interested in attending the program, but realistically, taking a year off from work to enroll or attending classes on campus might create some financial and logistical concerns. He's suggested to program officials that offering such options might also be a way to provide services to all credit unions. SECU has been offering trust services to its members through MEMBERS Trust Co. for the past two years. It has 800 licensed insurance agents and 75 certified financial planners serving its more than 1.3 million member base, Blaine said. "We have a strong tradition of developing our own [in-house] staff and leaders," Blaine said. "We're trying to integrate services into the credit union. We don't want separate silos competing." Blaine said he faced some resistance on hiring investment reps as salaried employees versus the traditional commissions and bonuses. "We didn't think we could operate a credit union owned by members and be compensated based on our advice or a product," he explained. "We really couldn't recruit much from outside [the credit union] because most are used to those commissions and bonuses." The Southeastern Trust School, based at Campbell, was established in 1969 to improve technical skills of professionals employed in the trust industry through an intensive summer session. The school is accredited by the Institute of Certified Bankers for the first year of study at the National Trust School operated by the Trust Division of the American Bankers Association, which offers the Certified Trust and Financial Adviser designation to trust personnel meeting certain experience and educational requirements. Students enrolled in the MTIM program are required to successfully complete the Southeastern Trust School summer session. The MTIM program is registered with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the national CFPr Certification Examinations and earn the certification. The Trust Education Foundation, Inc. was established in 1968 to ensure that the Trust and Investment Management program at Campbell keeps pace with the growing needs of the industry. Blaine said there is the misconception that trust services are still for the wealthy, but he offers a different perspective on it. It's a "wealth management program for the not-yet-wealthy." "We deal with state employees, public employees, middle income-generally not affluent-but they still have special needs' kids or parents with Alzheimer's," Blaine said. "They have real-life family dilemmas. That's the market we're going after." -firstname.lastname@example.org
College Trust Program Has Already Helped N.C.'s State Employees' CU, CEO Blaine Lobbies for Expansion to all Credit Unions
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