MADISON, Wis. – In another first for the credit union movement, CUNA Mutual Group, the Massachusetts Credit Union League, Ohio Credit Union League, Pennsylvania Credit Union League, South Carolina Credit Union League and the Virginia Credit Union League have shaken hands on a joint venture to form a national company – HRValue Group – to provide human resource services to the credit union movement. Unlike other HR companies that are run by other leagues, HRValue Group will operate as an independent company, not as a subsidiary, CUSO or affiliate of any of the leagues involved. HRValue Group has been 18 months in the making, but it can trace its origins to discussions during joint meetings held between CUNA and the American Association of Credit Union Leagues (AACUL) at CUNA’s 1999 symposium in New Orleans. In those meetings, explained South Carolina Credit Union League President John Franklin, league presidents identified strategic challenges and central issues facing credit unions. Franklin said the group agreed human resources was a highly critical issue and one lending itself most to action. Citing findings in CUNA’s Environmental Scan, Franklin noted that 30% of credit union CEOs will be leaving their positions within the next five years, and that credit unions are having difficulty attracting and retaining qualified employees. “It’s apparent that the whole human resources issue is a potential limiting factor on credit unions’ ability to advance, grow, prosper and ultimately survive,” said Franklin. Subsequent discussions were held and a business plan was developed. Eventually, said Franklin, the five leagues voluntarily became involved with the creation of HRValue Group. For the time being, HRValue Group will be located in Chicago because the city is a transportation hub and is near CUNA Mutual Group’s headquarters in Madison, Wis. But that’s only the bricks and mortar of the company. A lot of HRValue Group’s services will be delivered in cyberspace mode through the company’s Web site, so “the company could ostensibly be anywhere it makes sense” said Franklin. “HRValue Group intends to use all the communications and technological advances that are available.” HRValue Group’s leverage of technology is indicative of the company’s perspective on human resources. “The world of human resources is changing,” said Bashker Biswas, HRValue Group’s president/CEO. “Employees are now operating in a virtual world. Location is not as important as how the work is delivered. This represents a major shift in the paradigm of human resource opportunity.” Biswas comes to HRValue Group with over 30 years of human resource management experience with various companies, including Fortune 500 businesses. His specialization is in compensation, benefits, technology, recruitment and general human resource management. He has also been a professor of HR management for 17 years. Biswas said HRValue Group’s model is based on what he refers to as the “HR eco system.” The system includes five components – acquisition, motivation, development, maintenance and administration, and redeployment. These components form a human asset life cycle model. “HRValue Group will be a holistic, full service human resources company where credit unions can come for value-added, one-stop services,” said Biswas. “Today’s companies are more democratic and culturally diverse than they used to be. People are looking for more flexibility between their work and family lives. In today’s business, employers have to focus on the long term human aspect and organizational value, not the short term financial gain. People realize that the financial value can go up and down.” HRValue Group plans to have a set of product offerings in each of the five component areas. It also expects to appoint a national leader for each component. At press time, Thomas Licari was in charge of acquisition. The company also for the time being has an eight-member provisional board including the CEOs of each of the five leagues and three board members from CUNA Mutual Group. Eventually, the board will evolve down to include seven directors. The company expects to have its portal address ready by the first quarter 2002. [email protected]

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