HENDERSON, N.V. -- When two former bankers approached Ensign Federal Credit Union late last year about forming a business lending CUSO, CEO Diane Whitaker admits she was more than skeptical.
The $134 million Ensign was in the midst of a national search to partner with a business lending CUSO when David Osburn and Mark Moody of North Star Business Services made contact. Launched in January, the CUSO offers originating, underwriting, documenting and servicing of commercial real estate loans and equipment loan financing.
"It was a big concern," Whitaker recalled. "I was afraid there would be competition. I thought they would cherry pick loans and give the 'good' loans to the banks."
After talking with both former bankers, Whitaker said her concerns were alleviated when it was assured that Ensign would have the lead spot on North Star's board and that the other board members were contractors, real estate investors and developers--not bankers. But, she added, Osburn and Moody's numerous connections to banks all over the valley were good ones and "not one had a problem with working with credit unions."
"We thought we should get out of our credit union niche and work with other industries and perhaps, learn from them. I don't think anyone has the market on intelligence," said Whitaker.
See full coverage in the June 20 issue.