Burrell Lands at CU Vendor RiskSpan
Burrell was dismissed from WesCorp when the NCUA took over the ailing cooperative in March. He has been with RiskSpan nearly two months, working out of his home in Southern California in a newly created business development role.
Because WesCorp was an early RiskSpan client, Burrell said he will supply his years of user experience to help the firm "broaden business development and marketing relative to financial institutions." In addition to finding new bank and credit union clients for RiskSpan's data analysis software, he said he will provide a customer's perspective to new products and services.
WesCorp was a RiskSpan client at the time of conservatorship, and co-founder Joe Sturtevant spoke at the corporate's economic forum last October. NCUA Director of Public and Congressional Affairs John McKechnie stressed the seized corporate doesn't use RiskSpan to value impairments. That job belongs to Clayton Holdings.
WesCorp does use RiskSpan's software for portfolio ratio analysis, but the software does not figure into impairments, market value or how WesCorp prepares its financial statements, McKechnie said. Additionally, he said the turnkey product does not require interaction between RiskSpan and WesCorp staff.
Stuart Perlitsh, president/CEO of the $338 million Glendale Area Schools Federal Credit Union, said the former WesCorp executive was a hot topic at NAFCU's recent annual conference. Perlitsh said he found out about Burrell's new job when a colleague told him Burrell had called his credit union to pitch RiskSpan.
"I think it's outrageous that RiskSpan would employ folks who have been fired as the result of a conservatorship," Perlitsh said, adding RiskSpan must have underestimated how much WesCorp's losses have damaged Burrell's reputation among credit unions.
The Corporate One Federal Credit Union used RiskSpan for mortgage-backed securities analysis in fall 2008, after primary vendor Clayton reported two bonds were experiencing OTTI. RiskSpan was used to "validate the information we were receiving from Clayton," spokesman Paul Hixon said. But because Corporate One is not a regular RiskSpan client, Hixon said, comments about Burrell's position would be inappropriate.
Burrell said RiskSpan is developing new products and services that will help financial institutions face a new market and regulatory landscape. New software will help institutions analyze whole-loan portfolios, and RiskSpan's consultancy unit may work with financial institutions to evaluate loan portfolios and compare them against benchmarks, which will "help calibrate their credit model," he said.
"Models try to predict the future, and the future is pretty uncertain, but this could provide a good starting point," Burrell said.
Despite being forced out of his WesCorp job, Burrell said he has no ill feelings toward the corporate or the NCUA. Instead, he said he's enjoying his new role at RiskSpan and that it's an exciting time for the company and the financial services industry.
"For a long time, everybody had their heads down, kind of a bunker mentality, but now it seems like folks are trying to work out what the future looks like and how to prepare for it," he said. "I think that's a good thing."