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<p>COLUMBUS, Ohio -Corporate One FCU certainly isn’t the nation’s largest corporate, but it may touch more natural person credit unions than any other. Through all of its product offerings, Corporate One has relationships with 2,059 of the nation’s credit unions, spanning 41 states and Washington, D.C. Back in January of 2000 Corporate One converted from a state charter to a federal charter, mainly to get around some stringent state laws regarding operating nationally. With the friendlier national FOM of its new federal charter, the corporate’s membership opened up from 616 members in January 2000 to 717 today. It now has members in 19 different states, with the majority (555) coming from its home state of Ohio. Next to Ohio, Indiana has the greatest concentration of Corporate One members. This is due to some fallout among Indiana credit unions after the INDICORP/Mid-States merger. There was obviously an effect in Illinois (home of Mid-States) too, as that is the third most member rich state for Corporate One, with 31 members. The corporate has expanded its reach in recent years through two very successful programs – Alliance One and SimpliCD. Corporate One is the only corporate in the nation to have a selective surcharge network (Alliance One). Its Alliance One selective surcharging network has over 3,000 ATMs in 32 states. “What makes it powerful is the network is able to bring together many, many credit unions and financial institutions. It interfaces to so many different end-points and with multiple systems,” said Lee Butke, president/CEO of Corporate One. Corporate One charges participating CUs a one-time $250 set-up fee and an annual $50 fee to belong to Alliance One. The corporate admits that it’s not a money-maker. “We break even to cover costs. It’s a way of adding value to the nation’s credit union market,” said Mike Paton, vice president of marketing for Corporate One. A credit union does not have to be a member of Corporate One to join Alliance One. Corporate One got involved in ATM processing in 1991 in response to member CUs lamenting that their members did not have access to enough no-surcharge ATM, said Butke. Corporate One is probably best known in the corporate network for its SimpliCD program, a jumbo certificate of deposit program offered through Primary Financial, LLC, a Corporate One CUSO. Primary Financial relies on the sales forces of other corporates to increase penetration of SimpliCD. Currently 14 other corporate credit unions are co-agents for SimpliCD (see chart), giving the program vast reach throughout the nation. Mark Solomon, Senior Vice President and CFO for Corporate One, said CUs like SimpliCD because of its “simplicity”, a play on words the corporate intended when it named the program “SimpliCD.” “Each party is dealing with one person, versus multiple parties. We collect all interest payments on their behalf, and remit those to them. They get one check. It started from zero in August of 1996,” said Solomon. And how it has grown. There are over 1,200 credit unions utilizing SimpliCD. Assets increased 531% from 2000 to 2001, for a total of $764 million outstanding among the 14 corporate co-agents. Add Corporate One to the mix and the outstanding assets balloon to $1.2 billion. Paton said Corporate One’s strategy on the investment side with SimpliCD and other Corporate One investment products is to be aggressive nationally, but the corporate will not cross state lines with all of its products. It only markets itself as a full service provider in its primary region. “In Ohio and Indiana we are aggressively marketing Corporate One as a viable full-service provider to natural person credit unions. We limit the aggressive marketing to those states. Throughout the rest of the nation we’re marketing ourselves as a meaningful alternative provider of investment solutions,” said Paton. Butke said corporates are in more businesses than ever these days, but Corporate One will only get into areas it can add value. “Whatever you choose as your business lines, be great or get out of them,” said Butke. Paton said corporates shouldn’t get into business lines where they are just one of many possible service providers because there’s a buzz in the market about that product or service. “It’s incumbent of all of us that we enter business lines where we can be the best option in the market,” said Paton. Some critics say Net banking is an area corporates should not be getting into because of the host of other Net banking providers already out there. Paton said Corporate One will continue its cooperation/competition model, essentially competing with other corporates in certain areas but cooperating with them to get its products in the hands of credit unions. [email protected]</p>

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