ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Credit unions in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio who process their credit cards through their leagues are the first in the nation to be given the opportunity to become affiliate members of Card Services for Credit Unions (CSCU), the trade association for credit unions that process the card transactions through Certegy. In the coming weeks the three states' credit unions that qualify, representing over 800,000 card accounts, will get a packet in the mail offering them so-called "affiliate" membership in CSCU. Affiliate members will not change any of their existing card relationships with their league or with Certegy, but will be allowed to access CSCU's Virtual Card Consultant, an online feature that allows a credit union processing with Certegy to more easily understand and analyze its card portfolio, according to CSCU president Robert Hackney. Affiliate members will also be able to access CSCU's other credit card educational and networking opportunities, CSCU said. Other leagues that have agreed to participate in the affiliate offer include Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia (also represents D.C.) and Wisconsin, CSCU said. If the effort is as successful as CSCU hopes it will be, CSCU could almost double the number of credit unions with which it has at least some sort of membership arrangement, CSCU said. Currently about 2000 of Certegy's 4000 member credit unions are CSCU members. This effort could add almost 2000 affiliate members to the organization's roles. The additional power that joining CSCU will allow credit unions who process with Certegy to have, attracted the Ohio league to the effort, according to Virginia Parman, director of product development for the Ohio Credit Union League Service Corporation. Many Ohio credit unions had become Certegy customers after Certegy bought out their former processor, Parman said, and many have already contacted her about the opportunity to use the CSCU's Virtual Card Consultant as well as take advantage of other CSCU services. In the case of Pennsylvania, CSCU is benefiting from already being relatively familiar, said Corrine Sherman, vice president for card services for the Pennsylvania CU League. According to Sherman, 60 of the state's credit unions are already full members of CSCU. The league is excited about more credit unions getting involved with the Virtual Card Consultant because it will help credit unions analyze even more completely their own credit card portfolios. The league already has someone who offers this service, Sherman said, and having more credit unions able to do it through VCC will mean she is able to is able to perform other card related analysis.

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