LYNCHBURG, Va. -Change has been the name of the game for Jim Hansen during his so far brief tenure as CEO of the $1.2 billion VACORP. Hansen, 36, officially started at the corporate this January, and under his guidance the corporate has an entirely new look, new products, and is moving in new directions. The changes start with the name. VACORP was formerly known as Virginia League Corporate FCU up until a few months ago. It was only one of two corporates (Iowa League Corporate Central CU being the other) that still had the word “league” in its name. Leagues and corporates used to be linked together until NCUA separated them in the early `90s. VACORP has always been close with the Virginia league in terms of corroborating on some services and even sharing the same office space. One of those things is about to change. Hansen said the corporate and league have a great relationship and will continue to work together on certain products, but the corporate will be moving out of the league’s office space in Lynchburg likely next year. “We’re in the process of looking for our own facility. We have added a few staff people and are out of space here. The league needs more space too. We’ll stay close by. We do some shared services together, ” said Hansen. VACORP has added three senior managers under Hansen, bringing the staff up to 16. Not only did the corporate change its name this year, it was also granted a national field of membership from NCUA. Hansen said that was really just to put VACORP on equal footing with other corporates. There are no immediate plans to go marketing in other states, but the reality of today’s network means that’s always a possibility. “ There was a time when everyone had their own geographic area and a gentlemen’s agreement not to compete. But that has changed and the new way has been around long enough that everybody feels comfortable. There’s going to be competition and that’s a win-win for the credit unions,” said Hansen. Building the Product Menu VACORP’s product line has also expanded under Hansen. For example, it now has an ISI registered rep on staff to offer marketable securities to credit unions. ISI is U.S. Central’s broker/dealer subsidiary that can now work with credit unions due to the end of a non-compete with CNBS. Now VACORP members can look to their corporate for broker/dealer services. In addition to the brokerage services through ISI, VACORP is bringing on SimpliCD, the very popular brokered CD program started by Corporate One and now offered by Corporate Exchange, a new corporate CUSO that counts virtually all corporates as members. The corporate hired an investment sales manager to help move these two new investment product lines. VACORP also partnered with Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU to begin offering its members bill payment service. VACORP will provide settlement services and utilize Mid-Atlantic Corporate for back-end processing and the remittance of payments. Doing all these things is great, said Hansen, but if member credit unions don’t know about them, the impact won’t be as effective as it can be. To combat that VACORP is revamping its communications. For example it has hired a Member Relationship Manager, Summer Pugh, to work directly with credit unions in the field, something it hasn’t had before. The corporate has also revamped its newsletter and is in the process of upgrading its Web site. “We’ve tried to fill in our menu of services. We had to make sure Virginia credit unions had access to the same type of services other corporates have. There’s more members can do with us. We have to make sure they know what we offer,” Hansen said. VACORP primarily serves credit unions in Virginia, though it has a few in other states including Washington, D.C. The corporate recently picked up a major credit union member in D.C. – the $1.7 billion Bank-Fund Staff FCU. Bank-Fund Staff had previously not belonged to a corporate, but joined VACORP to get access to Charlie Mac, a U.S. Central subsidiary that acts as a secondary-market investor of credit union loans. “They’re a large credit union that wasn’t a member of us or any other corporate. We worked with another credit union on this program in Northern Virginia, and Bank-Fund found out about it through them,” said Hansen. Charlie Mac works exclusively through corporates to purchase credit union loans, specifically auto loans and jumbo mortgages. Bank-Fund Staff said it wants to Use Charlie Mac to manage the interest-rate risk of its jumbo mortgage portfolio. Bank-Fund Staff can now sell jumbos to Charlie Mac on either a servicing-retained or servicing-released basis. Retained allows Bank-Fund Staff to keep a servicing asset on its books, while the released option allows it to receive a servicing-released premium. VACORP really just introduced the program to credit unions and funnels the funds to the parties, but that’s it, and that’s fine with Hansen. “It’s not an area where we have expertise. U.S. Central has built it and we want to take advantage.” Prior to joining VACORP, Hansen was CEO of O’Rourke Career Connections, a credit union recruiting firm. After attending Florida State University, Hansen went to work for Southeast Corporate as a marketing representative under Jim Taylor. He spent nine years at the corporate working his way up the ladder to COO. He then went to work for O’Rourke Sacher and Moulton, moving up to CFO. After the O’Rourke merger with RSM McGladrey, Hansen became CEO of O’Rourke Career Connections. So far the move to VACORP has been nothing but positive for Hansen. “Virginia credit unions have really made me feel welcome. I’m grateful to their loyalty and support during the transition. It’s been very positive, a good move both for me professionally and personally for my family,” said Hansen. [email protected]

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