FORT WORTH, Texas – OmniAmerican Credit Union joins a growing list of credit unions that have recently added trust services to their financial offerings. OmniAmerican Trust Services' October 27 launch was prompted by "repeated requests" for traditional trust and estate services from its members, said Larry Duckworth, president/CEO of OCU. The trust firm will offer such services as estate settlements, revocable living trusts and guardianships. OCU is unique because it is one of four credit unions in the nation approved to be a registered investment adviser, Duckworth said. This means "in addition to other regulatory agencies, (OCU) had to obtain the approval of the state-level SEC, with their oversight." Once OmniAmerican Trust's assets under management exceed $25 million, oversight then moves to the federal SEC level. Because the credit union is one of the largest in the state here with 238,000 members and $1 billion in assets, the decision was made to narrow trust services to those "within a certain high income range," said Sajata Hale-Williams, OCU marketing representative. She did not provide what that range will be but added the services will also be targeted to "members that have expressed an interest in trust services in the past." "For many years, OmniAmerican has had several services that banks also offer," Hale-Williams said. "With the addition of trust services, we are truly starting to close the gap." Marketing OCU's newest division has already begun through newspaper advertisements, member newsletters, "word of mouth" and a more aggressive campaign scheduled to kick off in 2004, Hale-Williams said. Going forward, OmniAmerican Trust anticipates managing between $5 and $10 million in assets by the end of 2004. Rod Hailey, a 40-year trust and estate services veteran, will serve as vice president of trust services at OmniAmerican Trust. Most estate planning experts agree that it can take between six and 18 months to nurture and build relationships with members seeking trust services. "The challenge is to inform and educate our members," Hale-Williams said. "We're not just a place to get a great car loan or a free checking account." -

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