Shapiro Partners is doing its part to help credit unions get the support they need, from compliance to keynote speakers.
Made up of a group of credit union professionals, the Brea, Calif.-based company has recently expanded its credit union consulting team to 25 and is in the process ?of revamping its website, www.shapiro-?partners.com.
"What we're really seeing now more than ever is an increase in some great talent, who through no fault of their own, has been released from credit unions," said Adam Denbo, the company's senior managing consultant. "Since we started in May 2009, it's always been about the cooperative principle of working together, and we're not an employment agency but we didn't want to just let all that talent slip away."
To keep it all in the credit union family, he tapped them as consultants.
According to Denbo, the company structure provided a win-win scenario as it allowed CEOs, CFOs and other executives to continue working in the credit union industry while credit unions benefit from their experience. As an example of the talent ready to serve credit unions, he pointed to the latest addition to the consulting team, Tom Decker, who was the long-term development educator and national program director for the development educators' program at the National Credit Union Foundation.
"Our firm allows these highly skilled folks with a huge amount of experience and expertise in services from strategic planning to technology or mergers, to stay in the movement while they are actively looking for new credit union opportunities," said Denbo. "These are tough times and we realize that budgets are limited so not all credit unions may have the internal resources to do what they want or need to whether it's implementing best practices or help complying with new regulations. This is a way credit unions can afford top senior-level staff without long-term commitments or the cost of benefits."
With an eye on keeping overhead costs down, Shapiro Partners consultants are considered independent contractors, and clients are matched based on their need.
Denbo explained that consulting service requests are generally seasonal. For example, this time of year usually signals an uptick in the need for human resource/benefits services. The current economic environment and enactment of new legislation have resulted in an increased focus on areas such as compliance, risk management, strategic planning, collections and mergers.
"Not all of our consultants have been laid off; some freelance as a way to get additional income. What's great is that they're also gaining greater exposure to other approaches to the same challenges faced by all credit unions and often bring back the fresh, new ideas and perspectives they've learned to their credit union," said Denbo. "It's what credit unions are about, and Shapiro Partners makes little money; it's more about being a true partner for credit unions and getting our consultants placed to help credit unions do more."