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<p>AUBURN, Mass. – The first corporate credit union turns 70 this year, and its relatively new CEO says this small corporate is ready to make some noise in the network. With a stroke of the pen back in 1932, the Massachusetts state legislature formed the nation’s first corporate credit union. The Central CU Fund was actually started by the merging of three Massachusetts credit unions – the Industrial CU, the Gilco CU, and the Progressive Workmen’s Credit Union. Looking at the act that formed Central CU Fund shows a legislature that was crystal clear on the new corporate’s purpose, and what would be the main role of all corporates thereafter – liquidity providers. “It shall be the purpose of the corporation to assist such credit unions as become members thereof, when they are temporarily in need of cash or hold investments which cannot readily be liquidated, by making loans to them or any of them….” “The corporation may invest its funds in loans to member credit unions in such manner as its by-laws shall prescribe and may borrow money for said purpose. It may also invest its funds in the funds and securities which are legal investments for savings banks in this commonwealth…..” – Chapter 216 of the Acts of 1932, authorizing the organization of the Central CU Fund, Inc. The $285 million Central CU Fund is a state-chartered, NCUA-insured corporate. It plays by the rules of both NCUA and the Commonwealth of Massachusett’s Division of Banks. It has a national field-of-membership, and 190 of its 200 member credit unions are from Massachusetts, with the remaining from Vermont and Rhode Island. CEO Gary Glassman, a former banker, took over in October of 2000. His mission is to meet as many needs as possible of its member CUs, and to not act like a small corporate from a products and services standpoint. He likens what he’s doing with Central CU Fund to what Big Blue has done in the computer world. IBM doesn’t do everything the best, said Glassman, but they partner with the best to bring more to their customers. Glassman recalls an IBM presentation he saw at a conference while he was still with Key Bank. “They flashed a slide of all IBM’s strategic partners. On that slide was every one of IBM’s competitors. That stuck with me,” said Glassman. Since he took over, Central CU Fund has pursued an aggressive partnering strategy for what he calls a blend of traditional and new correspondent services. Correspondent services was one of Glassman’s specialties with Key Bank. Traditional correspondent services include share draft processing and cash letter services, but new products have to address technology, said Glassman. On the traditional side Central CU Fund has partnered with Constitution State Corporate’s CUSO for share draft processing, with CUNA Mutual for ALM, and with Corporate One for its SimpliCD program. It’s in the area of new correspondent services that Glassman feels Central CU Fund is really ahead of the curve. “One of the biggest things we see right now is credit unions looking at Internet security. We formed an alliance with Netivity Solutions. They provide every type of Internet access and Web security solutions or our member credit unions,” said Glassman. Security solutions coming from a corporate? Glassman says these are the types of solutions CUs want a trusted partner, like their corporate, to deliver. Glassman has experience in tech solutions. He was an e-commerce regional manager for Key Bank before joining the corporate. Plastic cards is another nontraditional correspondent service the corporate is focusing on. It offers a debit card program through a partnership with Fiserv, and a complete plastic card manufacturing solution through Shoreline Advantage. “We can put plastic cards in the hands of natural person credit union members in two to five days,” said Glassman. Central CU Fund uses the Web to detail all of its strategic alliances and partnerships. It owns the domain name CreditUnionMarketplace.com where all of its solutions, from technology to investment, are available for CUs to evaluate, or CUs can view them at www.centralcufund.com. “We have become a force now because we have solutions for any situation a natural person credit union is looking to solve. Interestingly, one corporate player it has not aligned with is U.S. Central. The Central CU Fund is not a member of U.S. Central. Glassman said the benefits of this alliance strategy is he doesn’t have the overhead in-house to run these programs, but there are downsides too. “The biggest downside is that you’re essentially giving up the control of the delivery of the service. You have to be diligent to make sure you are dealing with the highest quality products and services.” -</p> <p>[email protected]</p>

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