TALLAHASSEE, Fla. and DULUTH, Minn. – More diverse products, economies of scale. These are some of the benefits affiliated credit unions of the Florida Credit Union League and Georgia Credit Union Affiliates can expect to see from the joint venture announced by the leagues’ service corporations to form a limited liability corporation capitalized with cash investments from the two leagues’ service corporations. At press time, a name for the new company had not been decided. Mike Mercer, president/CEO of Georgia Credit Union Affiliates said the leagues hope to have the LLC and the auditing program-the first product that will be offered by the joint venture-in place by October 1. Georgia Credit Union Services has been providing auditing services for more than 30 years. It currently has four auditors to perform annual supervisory audits for 85 contracts. Georgia Credit Union Services also provides interim auditing services for some CUs that use outside CPAs to do their annual audits. In this type of service, the CPA elects to farm out parts of the audit to GCUS. The FCUL Service Group (FSG) has only been offering the product since this year. Through the LLC, auditing services for CUs will be available in both states. The idea of forming the LLC was spawned almost two years ago after a series of talks between Mercer and FCUL and FSG President/CEO Guy Hood. Since coming to the Florida league in 1987, Hood said he’s observed that there’s little competition in Florida for low cost audit providers. “A lot of credit unions want and need CPA audits, but there are also a lot of credit unions that are able to satisfy their regulatory and board needs with something less than a full audit,” said Hood, who was formerly a senior vp with the Alabama Credit Union League in charge of operations of the league’s service corporation, including the auditing program. Hood said that Mercer and he shared “an area of common interest to create a center of gravity to provide auditing and accounting services to credit unions in the two states.” Mercer said the biggest benefit CUs will realize from the LLC is that “the auditors will get to know credit unions inside and out since they’ll only be working with credit unions. The auditors will be able to offer constructive recommendations to the credit unions on how to improve their controls and procedures.” Beyond accounting and auditing services, the inclusion of human resources and marketing services in the offerings of the new LLC is in the planning stages. Mercer emphasized that, “We are not overpromising on the products and services the LLC will offer. We’re not going out there and saying we’ll be all things to all people overnight. We recognize though that credit unions are getting fewer and larger in the states that we serve. More collaboration between our leagues will result in additional value for credit unions in the future.” While the new venture is initially being launched by the service organizations of the Florida and Georgia leagues, Mercer said the board would be open down the road to other leagues getting involved in the LLC. “But it’s not something the board is planning around,” he said. A four-person board, comprised of two members from each league service group, will oversee the LLC’s operations. From the Florida league, Marvin Garland, chief operating officer of FSG will also serve as COO of the new company; Hood will be a board member of the new company as well.. From Georgia Credit Union Affiliates, Mercer and Chief Financial Officer Tim Bridges, will be board members. – [email protected]

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