CU*Answers Invests in Chatter Yak!
CU*Answers Inc. has partnered with Chatter Yak! to become the CUSO’s first equity investor.
Based in Oshkosh, Wis., Chatter Yak! specializes in marketing, social media, website development and branding. The CUSO said it is hoping that the new ownership and partnership relationship with CU*Answers will help promote innovation with social media and financial literacy within the credit union industry.
“We see social media not as a tangent to member service and contact, but a core competency need for the future,” said Randy Karnes, CEO of CU*Answers, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based CUSO that provides core processing, Internet development services, and online and mobile banking.
Karnes added, “We hope this investment is a step towards a better understanding for everyone involved. Chatter Yak! should be fun, and I like the people who are lining up to have some fun here for years.”
Kevin Ralofsky, Chatter Yak! co-founder and CEO of the $395 million CitizensFirst Credit Union in Oshkosh, Wis., said the CUSO is looking forward to the possibilities through the alliance with CU*Answers.
“We have always pushed a culture of curiosity to challenge the way credit unions should think about their relationships with members and their communities,” Ralofsky said. “With this partnership we hope to drive a deeper and more meaningful understanding of how credit unions blend everyday business with social data and the member experience.”
Karnes said he is optimistic about the opportunities social media can bring.
“Who knows where this is going — will any current, popular service exist 10 years from now, who knows,” he said. “What I do know is 10 years from now, credit unions and CUSOs will have to understand how to roll with the evolution, integrate digital strategies into their business plans, and engage members where they choose to be active.”
In addition to Karnes and Ralofsky, Chatter Yak!’s new board of directors includes:
- Chris Butler, CU*Answers board chair and CEO of Community CU in La Crosse, Wis.
- Bryce Roth, Chatter Yak! co-founder
- Karrie Drobnick, CitizensFirst CU vice president of marketing
The CUSO’s advisory committee consists of:
- William Wuske, CitizensFirst CU EVP/COO
- Bob Matz, CitizensFirst CU CFO
- Linda Bodie, CU*Answers board director and CEO of Element FCU in Charleston, W.V.
- Brett Wooden, Cy-Fair FCU senior vice president Marketing + Innovation in Houston
- Tammy Williams, Best Advantage CU CEO in Brillion, Wis.
- Jim Vilker, CU*Answers vice president of professional services in Grand Rapids, Mich.