South Carolina CUs Awarded First-Ever $50,000 NCUA Collaboration Grant
A group of South Carolina credit unions are collaborating on a groundbreaking project to improve talent management with the support of a $50,000 collaboration grant from the NCUA.
The $24 million Health Facilities FCU, a low-income credit union in Florence, S.C., together with three other credit unions and a CUSO, has been awarded a $50,000 NCUA collaboration grant, the agency announced Tuesday.
The group, which includes the $33.5 million Greenwood Municipal CU of Greenwood and the $11 million Spartan FCU of Spartanburg, will collaborate with the $1.2 billion South Carolina FCU of North Charleston and its Optimal Talent Solutions CUSO, to provide talent management consulting and succession management, recruitment, performance management, and diversity and inclusion training.
The NCUA said the group led by Health Facilities FCU was chosen from seven applications and that it was the first time a grant of this size has been offered to LICUs.
Robert Harris, Health Facilities CEO, said he has worked with Optimal Talent Solutions before, and wanted to hire the CUSO to provide staff training, but couldn’t afford it.
“After 2008 we went through a reorganization,” Harris said. “We were somewhat stagnant with our staff, and weren’t able to provide the training our employees needed, due to cost. So, that’s what we were trying to do, redefine our jobs roles, get the necessary training and provide more streamlined service to our member/owners.”
Since the financial crisis, Harris said that the credit union had been busy meeting compliance requirements, which had taken time and resources away from other training needs for staff.
“Collaborations among small credit unions to help them develop best practices are important to their long-term success,” NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz said. “We know credit unions can accomplish more working together than working alone.
“Employee recruitment, development, and succession are all core needs for any business, but small credit unions with limited capacity and resources have a difficult time managing those needs. This project can help provide that capacity and those resources,” Matz said.
Harris agreed, saying that large credit unions have so much talent and expertise, small credit unions should tap into those resources.
The grant is intended to encourage collaborative efforts that develop innovative, sustainable best practices to improve operations and reduce costs that can be adopted by other credit unions.
To qualify, a LICU must partner with at least one other credit union. The collaboration can include other entities, such as state leagues and associations, additional credit unions, CUSOs and third-party vendors.
Funding for the grant is provided by the Community Development Revolving Loan Fund, which Congress created to support credit unions that serve low-income communities. NCUA’s Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives administers these funds under its grant and loan programs.
Harris said he will meet with Optimal Talent Solutions next week to put together a game plan to implement the project. Once the other two credit unions have been brought up to speed, he said the group will probably get started on the collaboration in early May.