Investment, Insurance CUSO Form Strategic Alliance
Credit Union Financial Network LLC and CU Insurance Alliance LLC have come together to help leverage their relationships and offer services to credit unions at a more competitive price,
The Peoria, Ariz.-based CUFN offers investment, customized financial plan programs, insurance, business and trust services. Based in Salem, Ore., CUIA is owned by 18 credit unions.
While CUIA is focused on insurance operations, CUFN's expertise is in investment and estate planning solutions, the CUSOs said. By partnering, the two companies said they become a larger purchaser on behalf of credit unions and can continue to drive down expenses associated with the products they offer.
One example of the buying power leverage is in the employee benefits area. A subsidiary of CUIA, CU Benefits Alliance, has created a credit union employee benefits program which has reduced the benefits cost for member credit unions by an average of 23%, according to John Harris, CEO of CUIA. Some credit unions have saved more than $1 million since joining the benefits coalition, he added.
"It's all about working together and working smarter," Harris said.
With this partnership, both CUSOs said they are looking to grow into new markets and serve more credit unions.
“We exist to help credit unions earn more income and save costs through compliance and sales management of the financial planning (and) wealth management program,” said Mike Prior, CEO of CUFN. “Our focus on recruiting quality advisers to provide quality advice has been well received by the CEOs, CFOs, and branch staff of the credit unions we have helped upgrade.”
Along with leadership in investment program management, CUFN offers non-traditional services such as helping credit unions improve their ROA on the credit union's investment portfolio, according to Prior.
The CUSO also offers support and assistance in the recruiting of a financial adviser, developing and implementation of marketing strategies, employee branch training, community and SEG financial education workshops, as well as managing all aspects of the broker/dealer relationship.
CUIA and CU Benefits Alliance are multi-credit union owned insurance CUSOs designed to meet the insurance, risk management and fee income needs of investor credit unions and their affiliated CUSOs, Harris said.
The alliance is designed to provide both knowledge and channels for improvement in the insurance and investment relationships maintained by the credit union.