Trailblazer 40 Below: Jeff Russell Backs Investments in the Future
Jeff Russell may have started working with credit unions as a college freshman simply because the position at The Members Group paid better than food service, but the president/CEO of TMG Financial Services has since become credit unions' biggest advocate.
“I didn’t know anything about credit unions when I started, even though I walked past one of the largest credit unions in Iowa everyday when I was in junior high school,” said Russell. “Most of what I work on is new product development, developing new business models, identifying growth opportunities and how to help credit unions grow in the competitive financial marketplace. It’s exciting because there are no typical days when it’s about what the future will look like or the next thing.”
That dichotomy of growth and fear of the other shoe dropping, like double-dip recession and the like, often has many pulling back when they should be pushing forward.
Not just one to issue a call to action, Russell has lived it and finding the opportunity in challenges led to the creation of the collateralized advance program funding vehicle and a new company, CU Structured Finance LLC. CAP was created in 2008 about a year after the launch of TMG Financial Services when regulatory hurdles forced the company to look for different ways of funding the portfolio purchases it was making.