Four state leagues–California, Texas, Georgia and Ohio–have organized a new Dallas firm, CU Partner Link, to develop new state-of-the-art products and services for member CUs concerned over lost income.
"Credit unions have rarely faced a more challenging operating environment than they do today. A multi-year economic downturn, stagnant loan demand and an ever increasing regulatory burden are just a few of the headwinds the industry faces," said Richard Ensweiler, chairman of CU Partner Link and president/CEO of the Texas Credit Union League.
In a press release, CU Partner Link organizers noted that most CUs have spent inordinate energy over the last few years on finding ways to reduce operating expenses amid interchange losses and high assessment fees.
CU Partner Link “believes the best prospects to improve financial performance will be realized from helping credit unions to focus on growing top-line revenue” and to that end the firm will identify and deliver innovative financial products that may eventually be sold to other CUs across the U.S.
Details on the exact shape and form of the service and product menu are still in the working stages, “but we hope to have something to show in the third quarter,” said Ensweiler.
One area being looked at for added income is image technology said Ensweiler.
The decision by the four leagues to collaborate comes as CUs continue to express bottom line worries. As league managers, “we believe we are in a position to be of help,” said Ensweiler.
In addition to Ensweiler, the board of CU Partner Link includes Diana Dykstra, vice chairman, who also is CEO of the California Credit Union League; Michael Mercer, secretary, and CEO of the Georgia Credit Union League; his brother, Paul Mercer, treasurer, and CEO of the Ohio League; plus Darren Herrmann, CEO at San Francisco Fire CU and Paul Trylko, CEO at Amplify FCU, Austin, Texas.
Eric Jenkins, senior vice president and head of CU growth services at the Georgia League,
has been recruited to run the operation out of a Dallas site, said Ensweiler.