SAN DIEGO -- Several Michigan credit unions are among the first to sign on with CUSO Financial Services, LP's new online investment consortium program for small credit unions.
CFS developed an online model to give the credit unions' members access to a Web-based, "do-it-yourself" service that includes educational information and the ability to manage investments at lowered costs.
Michigan-based CU Partner Solutions LLC has partnered with CFS. The CUSO serves Affinity Group CU, Clawson Community CU, Crestwood Community CU, Kensington Valley Community CU, ROME CU, Unity CU and Birmingham-Bloomfield CU.
"We believe it's important for our credit unions to provide members a means of planning for the future in whatever form is easy for them," said Thomas Miller, chairman of CU Partner Solutions and CEO of Affinity Group CU. "CFS offers a top-flight online trading and investment program as well as a commitment to support it as technology improves and changes. Their awareness of smaller credit union needs and their flexibility really appealed to us."
In light of the challenges faced in developing economies of scale, many smaller credit unions have forsaken the opportunity to offer investment services to their members, CFS said. Recognizing the need for a platform that allows these credit unions to retain and grow assets, CFS developed the innovative consortium model. Credit unions may choose to offer the online-only investment program or they can share a CFS-trained, registered representative for more full-service investment program management. Online tools incorporate a look and feel that is consistent with the brand of each credit union.
"Our online consortium offering provides the opportunity for the smaller credit union to gain entree to investment services and remain competitive by increasing assets beyond simple deposit accounts," said Valorie Seyfert, president/CEO of CFS. "We achieve structural efficiencies, yet maintain program differences that support the personality and brand of each credit union in the group."
Seyfert said in early 2008, CFS will expand its online offering to all of its credit union partners by introducing a Web-based platform that provides members with financial education, risk tolerance and asset allocation diagnostic tools and ways to track investments as well as plan for the future.
Michigan joins several Georgia credit unions that are currently working to bring investment services to members through CFS' consortium program.