The dizzying pace of corporate events and NCUA rulemaking last week left many CU managers wondering where to turn for help.
To the rescue came a host of trade, agency and processing providers with the Northwest Credit Union Association, serving Oregon and Washington CUs, leading the pack by sponsoring a forum next week–the biggest Northwest industry event ever–to aid CUs in their decision making on vendor selection.
“Our goal is to give all credit unions in the Northwest the opportunity to meet face to face with CEOs of the corporates serving our area to discuss their options going forward,” explained Troy Stang, the president of NWCUA, in outlining plans for the corporate forum and trade show Sept. 20-22.
The corporate-CU get together will feature heads of the firms, their sales reps along with a slew of processing and funding vendors speaking at breakout sessions and manning booths.
The event coincides with the inaugural gathering of NWCUA, which was founded last year by the Oregon and Washington CU leagues. The three-day meeting, expected to draw a crowd of 720, will be held at the Murano Hotel in Tacoma, Wash.
Forum planners have said the Tacoma session will give CU leaders now looking for alternative sources on settlement, funding and processing services a chance to make new contacts.
No commercial banks were invited. A handful of the largest banks, including Wells Fargo and Fifth Third, have in recent months stepped up their wholesale contacts with credit unions to take advantage of the corporate void and industry unease.
But the banking sector will be represented, at least through staffers on hand from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle, said NWCUA officials.
John C. Williams, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, was also invited but will not make it because of other commitments, said Stang. A number of CUs across the West have opened or reactivated accounts with the regional bank over the last year.
NWCUA noted that among the corporates represented by CEOs and top managers are Catalyst, SunCorp and FirstCorp,
In its “Anthem” newsletter, the trade group cited remarks by various corporate CEOs on their financial status and their planned appearance in Tacoma.
“Catalyst, the new corporate credit union created by the expected merger of Georgia Corporate Credit Union and Southwest Bridge Corporate, will staff a booth at the convention trade show,” said NWCUA.
Catalyst CEO Dianne Addington is making arrangements to attend, Phoenix-based FirstCorp is already extending its services to other natural person credit unions in the West, and CEO Pete Pritts confirmed representatives will approach Northwest credit unions specifically.
The newsletter also took note that representatives of Denver-based SunCorp had attended last year’s annual meeting of the Washington Credit Union League during which contingency plans were discussed in the event corporate bridge failures would create a market disruption.
Now that such a disruption has come to pass, NWCUA is encouraging CUs to take part mindful of due diligence as they consider various proposals.
On that score, Terry West, chairman of a CUNA task force on the corporates called the Corporate Credit Union Next Steps Working Group, again stressed the need for CUs to examine what one CUNA staffer called the sweet deals extended by outside providers, including large banks.
Some CUs shopping for alternative offers are witnessing price shock, said West, arguing that in the long run the best deal may come from existing and healthy corporates rather than outsiders.
West, who also is president/CEO of Vystar CU, Jacksonville, Fla., and whose task force met last week with the NCUA’s top corporate brass on ensuring uninterrupted service, told Credit Union Times that many CEOs are simply “exhausted, worn out and frustrated” by corporate events and the impact of the assessments.
But CUNA as well as the league and industry-linked providers expect to persevere to guarantee “the best solutions for payment and settlement services” for CUs, he added.