ROCKLIN, Calif. -- Pete Snyder, who started his own investments and insurance consulting company, Snyder Consulting Solutions after leaving the Addison Avenue Partners' CUSO and later joining Kinecta Credit Union, has now formed an alliance with Gateway Services Group, LLC of Denver.
GSG President Scott Jentz, a founder of Gateway Services Group and Snyder have known each other professionally and personally for a number of years, and that a level of trust made the alliance an easy choice. Snyder said, "That played a big part in this, and I've seen how the best alliances in CU-land come about with people who have worked together over the years on a number of projects. "I've worked with Scott and Gateway Services before and I wanted to get back into consulting full-time, so I approached Scott and we found the ideal situation."
Jentz remarked on how Snyder's experience working inside credit unions and as a consultant has given him the kind of well-rounded knowledge that GSG wants to offer its growing client list. "Yes, Pete knows investments and insurance but he also brings a deep knowledge of the lending area in credit unions. We want to grow our business through offering strategic consulting; it's more than just investments and insurance. It's a total, or holistic approach, and Pete has the experience in high level management for doing just that," he said.
"Scott and I have this long history of working together. We each know what the other entity does and the good thing is that there is very little overlap," said Snyder.
SCS will maintain its own identity while accessing and combining with Gateway's capabilities to provide credit unions with expanded services. (GSG has multiple CU owners and provides nationwide solutions for CUs in operating and managing investments and insurance programs.)
"We now work with 24 credit unions on the investment/management side and have three CUs that we consult with and run the insurance program for and several CUs in trust where we act as the trust officer," said Jentz. "Our aim is to grow the investments business by 15%, further establish our insurance program and build our strategic consulting area by 50% or more." GSG acquired QSO Incorporated, an insurance agency in 2004, said Jentz and also owns a property/casualty agency. Each organization maintains its own brand and identity and has autonomy over its operations. All entities are also credit union-owned.
Jentz has a 35-year background of working on insurance issues for credit unions, and other GSG employees, in particular, Judy Sandberg, vice president of strategic direction for GSG also has years of insurance and investment experience, noted Snyder. (Snyder and Sandberg also serve together on the NACUSO board of directors.)
"There's a credit union client I'm working with right now to develop a property and casualty insurance program," said Snyder, "where I'll call on GSG's experience to calculate projections and do analysis. Now, I could do all that myself, but it would take me far longer than someone like Judy, who has been doing that sort of thing much longer than I have. So there's just one example of how our working together can save a client time and money by my being able to tap into the expertise of GSG, and I see a lot more of that coming down the road."
A strength that GSG has, according to Snyder is that it is not beholden to any one provider or vendor product line, but rather selects products and services from a broad array of companies. "Credit unions need trusted advice and representing a number of providers means that we can pick what works best for any particular credit union client.
"GSG is a subsidiary of Members Gateways, which is the 'research or think tank' for credit union CUSOs that has an industry focus that is 'big picture' oriented," said Snyder. "That appeals to me as well, and the Benchmarking initiative will be a crucial step forward for credit unions, I believe, and GSG is involved in that, too."
SCS and Callahan & Associates had previously announced the launching of the joint initiative to bring the credit union industry its first ever "credit union only" annual retail investment services benchmarking study. The alliance between SCS and GSG now means that the SCS/Callahan benchmarking initiative will become part of the aggregate GSG family of companies' offerings to credit union clients. This annual benchmarking data will provide credit unions with the tools to establish performance standards for their retail investment programs," said Snyder.
How will Snyder know when he's done a successful job for a CU client? "I'll know that when, given the Best Practices of integration are applied and a credit union can say it is a financial services company that has within it and insurance agency and an investment services program that has all channels thoroughly integrated."
At this time, the SCS and GSG collaboration is an alliance, but Jentz allowed the possibility that SCS may eventually be acquired of by GSG.