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WARREN, Ohio – Experts say the Baby Boomer generation is the one to watch as an estimated $12 trillion is expected to pass to heirs over the next dozen years and Seven Seventeen Credit Union is already seeing signs of the transfer. The $539 million credit union recently announced its entry into the trust services arena brought on through a need from a large segment of its membership that are considered Baby Boomers, typically described between the ages of 40 and 58. Through a partnership with MEMBERS Trust Co., the seven-month old nationally chartered effort from Tampa, Fla.-based Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union and CUNA Mutual, Seven Seventeen CU’s more than 72,000 members will have access to living trusts, testamentary trusts, estate settlement, custody accounts, escrow accounts, reverse mortgages, managed agency accounts, and financial planning. “With current laws and regulations, a simple written will no longer guarantees that an individual’s estate will pass to their heirs as desired,” said Gary Soukenik, president/CEO. “These new services are part of our continuing effort to provide financial products that will meet the changing needs of our members.” The new trust alliance is an extension of an existing relationship Seven Seventeen CU has had with CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc.’s MEMBERS Financial Services for 12 years, said Jan Adam, account administrator manager. “Quite frankly, we looked at other providers including MEMBERS Financial,” Adam said, “It just made sense to go with them because we’ve had a very good relationship, there’s a high trust factor there and their mission statement is very similar to ours.” Adam said “there are a lot of members” in the Baby Boomer age group who need and seek advice. Rather than place estate planning needs in the hands of the bereaved still mourning over the loss of a loved one or with children who don’t have the experience, members can look to the credit union as a trustee, she added. Bill Day, a MEMBERS Financial representative, who will also serve as trust liaison officer for the credit union, is there to facilitate that relationship. Day said the services will be available to members who have a minimum of $100,000 in investable assets and admits that for some, trust services may not be the right choice for their long-term or estate planning needs. “We can help guide them to other areas that will work,” Day said. “For those members who have children from a previous relationship, or a child with special needs, there are all types of situations that call for a need a for trust services. It all depends on their situation.” Seven Seventeen CU had already established a number of trust relationships with its members prior to its partnership with MEMBERS Trust, Adam said. Several of them have named the credit union as their trustee. While those relationships “are not a large percentage of our membership,” she said a direct marketing piece will be sent out in August introducing them to the new alliance. Still, an aggressive marketing campaign is not in the works but as typical with most trust services start-ups, the credit union will spend the bulk of its first year educating members about the plethora of services available, Adam said. In addition to newsletter articles, Day will conduct a series of seminars with the first to be held in September on `investing in turbulent times.’ Most credit unions agree the launch of a trust services division is only as good as the relationships it fosters with local estate planning attorneys, certified public accountants and investment advisors. To that end, Seven Seventeen CU will conduct open house meetings with those professional groups to acquaint them with their new trust offerings. “We’re not endorsing anyone,” Adam said. “Sometimes (members) may need additional help with their specific situations.” Meanwhile, Adam said the most pressing part is getting staff up to speed on training and the referral process. “We realize that there will be a need to educate the members and we’re prepared to work hard to answer their questions,” Adam said. [email protected]

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