Kirk Drake, president/CEO of Ongoing Operations LLC, is looking to CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference next week as a way to play up what CUSOs are and are not.
“Even though CUSOs are owned by credit unions, it has been my experience that they are largely overlooked, not asked to participate in most of the political advocacy and are lumped into the general vendor category,” Drake wrote in his CUNA GAC CUSO guide.
At least 25 CUSOs will have exhibit booths at the GAC in Washington, according to Drake. Ongoing Operations, a Hagerstown, Md.-based CUSO that provides business continuity and technology solutions, will be among them.
In the CUNA GAC CUSO guide, Drake offers background information on how CUSOs are different from vendors, how they enable collaboration, and a list of CUSOs that will be at the GAC.
One of the differences between CUSOs and vendors is that credit union ownership as strategic partners ensures that credit unions have a voice, Drake said. Another difference is there are no non-credit union shareholders to please, he added.
Jointly owned CUSOs also pay dividends to their credit union owners and can provide savings on services as well as generate revenue through products and services a credit union cannot offer directly, but can do through a CUSO, Drake said comparing CUSOs to other vendors.
“I think CUSOs are one of the most important if not the most important way for innovation, adaptability and differentiation credit unions have and are crucial to the long-term viability of the industry,” Drake said.