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<p>CU Times: What is U.S. Central’s primary role in serving corporate CUs? U. S. Central was designed to help corporates realize the economic benefits of pooling their financial and managerial resources. Through economies of scale, the corporate network provides credit unions with top-quality investment, liquidity, loan and payment products. By linking corporates into a nationwide network, credit unions throughout the country can take advantage of an efficient vehicle for distributing funds, services and information. Today, U.S. Central’s primary products include overnight, short-term and long-term investments; loans, funds-transfer services, both domestic and international; settlement services and other payment system products, such as ACH origination. U.S. Central’s wholly owned CUSO, Capital Markets, Inc., offers corporates securities brokerage, investment advisory and asset/liability management services. Credit unions that are members of participating corporates can sell their loans to Network Liquidity Acceptance Company, LLC, another U. S. Central wholly owned CUSO. NLAC serves the needs of credit unions by funding their loans through the capital markets. And Corporate Network eCom, LLC, a majority-owned CUSO of U.S. Central, provides Internet-based bill payment and other technology services to credit union members of participating corporates.” Has that role changed at all over last decade? U.S. Central’s role has expanded as corporates’ product offerings and roles in serving credit unions have expanded. To meet their own members’ product demands, credit unions’ needs for high-tech and/or Web-based services have grown. In most cases, these services require large-dollar investments in technology, which can best be met through the economies of scale the corporate Network offers. As with all of the financial industry, there have been a number of mergers among credit unions and a few among corporates. However, this hasn’t lessened the need for sophisticated yet cost-effective products and services.” Your success is dependent ultimately on natural-person CU success, what can you do above and beyond your product line to help CUs succeed? U.S. Central considers its support of the overall credit union movement a top priority. Whether through our financial support to national and international programs benefiting credit union development; our volunteer efforts at the local level to support savings, financial literacy and wealth-building programs in neighboring communities; or various presentation opportunities to promote and educate others on the importance and value of today’s credit unions, U.S. Central plays a significant role in the success and growth of credit unions everywhere. The success of the credit union movement has always been – and always will be – possible only through the combined efforts of credit unions at all levels.” Some say U.S. Central should be the recognized leader in the corporate network. Do you agree with that, and if so do you feel you are that leader? U. S. Central was created by the corporate network, and we strive to represent the corporate system to the greatest benefit of our membership. Each member corporate plays a role in determining what we do. Do I think that U. S. Central is the recognized leader? I think the corporate network as a whole plays a leadership role by designing and developing products and services credit unions need to support their future growth. And we’re part of that leadership, certainly. At U.S. Central, we have an important responsibility to keep the credit union community connected, and I think we do that by working hard to offer competitive investment and loan rates, through creating and implementing high-quality, cost effective payment services, and through communicating the “people helping people” philosophy in everything we do. But leading the corporate network is and should remain a team effort. Is there anything about U.S. Central that you believe is misconceived, or anything the average CU may not know? We’ve been compared with BASF or Intel, and I think those are good analogies. Because U. S. Central’s role is more “behind the scenes,” people may not realize the magnitude of our role – that we touch a wide area of financial services. For example, through our Automated Settlement program, we settle some 24 million transactions for an average of $3.4 billion exchanged daily. We also handle nearly 2 million transactions every month through APEX-ACH. And each day, we average $9 billion in incoming and outgoing domestic wires, while on a yearly basis, we process more than 65,000 international wires with a value of $300 million. Today, U.S. Central hovers around $32 billion in assets, and we traded nearly $1 trillion of fed funds and other short-term investments in 2001. Every day, U.S. Central receives and manages between $10 billion and $14 billion in corporate credit unions’ overnight funds. But our investment activities on behalf of the credit union community don’t stop there. We also meet corporates’ needs by offering a wide spectrum of investment products and strategies to help our members earn yields much higher than overnight yields, while managing for interest-rate risk, portfolio diversification and overall flexibility in the balance sheet.</p>

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