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<p>NEW CASTLE, Del. – In an effort to woo members who may not have the industry-minimum $1 million in assets needed to take advantage of trust services, one newly-established trust operation is significantly lowering that threshold. DELCU Financial Services, L.L.C., a CUSO owned by 16 Delaware credit unions and managed by the Delaware Credit Union League (DCUL) plans to offer CU Member Trust Services through an alliance with INA Trust, FSB, a federal savings bank that is chartered to serve credit union members nationwide. INA Trust has lowered the standard $1 million dollar minimum asset requirement found in many trust banks to qualify for a trust to $250,000. As such, the trust administration fees are more affordable than at most other trust institutions, said Bob Walls, DCUL’s president. “We know that all members don’t access their credit unions for their financial needs so this was an affordable way to make trust services available for just about everyone,” Walls said. “The truth is most credit union members don’t have a million dollars in assets, and that’s the minimum for most trust banks.” The move to make asset management services available started last summer with the strategic plan to retain members and, according to several industry predictions, help manage the trillions of dollars that will pass between generations over the next decade, Walls said. “Trust services fall within all life events such as making sure heirs get through probate, guardianship and conservatorship for minors,” Walls said. “There are a lot of quality of life issues that come into consideration.” Administrative fees start at $1,650 with DELCU receiving 25% or $412.50 of that amount that will be used towards capital accumulation for new services and dividend distribution to CUSO members. Starting DELCU’s trust services division literally required no start-up costs, Walls said. INA Trust is paying for all the marketing and training costs and MEMBERS Capital Advisors, Inc., CUNA Mutual Group’s registered investment advisor affiliate, will provide costs associated with asset management services. INA Trust is not affiliated with any banking entity, a distinction that attracted DELCU, Walls said. “One of the reasons DELCU selected INA was it’s not connected to a banking entity, so members won’t have to worry about receiving brochures about checking accounts and other unsolicited materials that might compete with what a credit union is already offering them,” Walls explained. In February, INA Trust trained employees at 16 credit unions to respond to general questions and make referrals to Walls, who will act as the trust liaison. The trust services became available on March 1, and DELCU will continue its marketing campaign through links from its sponsoring credit unions’ Web sites to INA’s page, target mailing using CUNA Mutual’s Member Connect, newsletter articles and lobby brochures. Each of the CUSO’s 16 credit unions will designate a `trust day’ where a trained trust representative will be there to answer questions. Initially, CU Members Trust Services will manage individual and personal trusts with some consideration to offering expanded services in the future, Walls said. Rather than expanding the services to the other 24 credit unions in Delaware, Walls said the decision was made not to because of DELCU’s strategic plan to retain members and grow wealth in what is increasingly becoming a “competitive atmosphere.” “We have national jurisdiction, and while our focus is growth (in Delaware), we are looking at the possibility of offering trust services in surrounding states,” Walls said. -</p> <p>[email protected]</p>

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