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NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – Reflecting what was described by one board member as “being part of the continuing development and expansion of credit unions’ CUSO powers,” NACUSO has taken the first steps in a broad restructuring of the association and expansion of its mission and long-range objectives. NACUSO, which celebrates its 20th anniversary next year and which was founded by current president/executive director Bob Dorsa at a time when most CUSOs were wholly-owned by individual credit unions, will now focus on the collaborative CUSO business model which NACUSO Chairman John Unangst, president/CEO, Franklin Mint FCU, Broomall, Pa., the sole owner of State Financial Network Inc., says “offers advantages the hierarchical structure lacks. It’s creative, it’s entrepreneurial in nature, and it works better in today’s fast-changing, ultra-competitive marketplace.” As part of that restructuring, board member Vic Pantea, president/COO of Member Gateways LLC, will assume the position of acting president starting Jan. 1, 2005. Pantea was appointed to the NACUSO Board last year to fill the unexpired term of David Kennedy, president of the SELCO Group, a wholly-owned financial services CUSO of SELCO CU, Springfield, Ore. Concurrent with Pantea assuming the acting president responsibilities, Dorsa will step down from his position with NACUSO and focus on growing the American Credit Union Mortgage Association (ACUMA) which he is executive director of and founded in 1995. ACUMA has more than 200 credit union and affiliated members. The aggregate membership represents more than 15 million CU members and more than $200 billion in CU total assets. NACUSO has 390 members. In addition, the NACUSO Board at the time will begin a search for a new executive director and president. The balance of the NACUSO Board remains intact. Dorsa will remain involved in planning future NATCUso confrences. As far back as last year, Pantea said the NACUSO Board began exploring ways to expand beyond the traditional brokerage and insurance services model which he said was where the demand was and had offered the fastest growing CUSO opportunities over the past five to 10 years. By far the majority of CUSOs were focused on that business line, Pantea said. “Now with the SEC’s regulatory announcement affecting investment CUSOs, many credit unions that organized CUSOs for that purpose are moving their investment operations into the credit union. We intend to remain active and offer expertise for that line of business even if it no longer resides in the CUSO, but NACUSO now needs to stand for multiple lines of business that we expect to see CUSOs focus on,” said Pantea. He said that was why the NACUSO board selected him to be acting president – since Member Gateways operates under a collaborative business model, “it was appropriate for me to step in and see this business model through,” he explained. An example of that new focus is the plan of Counter Intelligence Associates, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Community America CU, to facilitate collaborative CUSOs for the purpose of making member business loans. CIA CEO Diane Johnson said the CUSO will put its nationwide client base together with NACUSO “so that it becomes a more full service resource.” It also plans to make its Webcast facilities in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. and at WesCorp headquarters in San Dimas, Calif. available to NACUSO, as well as its sales and service programs and business start-up consultation capability. Dorsa says the timing of NACUSO’s restructuring is “right on,” adding that “NACUSO is strong enough and in good hands. They’re a very formidable and well-organized group.” Dorsa, whose background is in real estate lending, – he was hired in 1975 as assistant general manager in charge of real estate lending at Teachers FCU, Farmingville, New York and has also worked as a mortgage loan officer for several credit unions in southern California – said “running two associations was too much for one person. Mortgage lending is a passion of mine and I’m looking forward to focusing on ACUMA. The initiative needs my full attention, and serving both organizations wasn’t in my opinion allowing me to focus 100% of my effort on either NACUSO or ACUMA.” In fact, Dorsa said it was he who initiated the discussions by the NACUSO Board several months ago based on an assessment of market changes he and other board members made. Given Dorsa’s decision to step down from the NACUSO leadership spot, and “with so much talk about succession planning, this gave everyone a chance to look at the CUSO model and ask ourselves how we could improve on what we were doing,” says Unangst. “The collaborative model was brewing and the board decided we needed to practice what we were preaching and bring the collaborative business model inside. Bringing Vic onto the board as well as Dave Serlo, president of PSCU Financial Services had us moving in that direction,” he added. Dorsa said “CUSOs are primed to make these changes now based on market conditions. “These changes aren’t something that happened overnight. It’s something that’s gradually been happening, and the timing couldn’t be better for CUSOs to get the recognition they deserve. In the last couple of years and up until recently, we’ve seen the announcement from the SEC and the expansion of credit unions’ incidental powers. So the landscape for CUSOs is changing. A lot of credit unions and CUSOs have been reluctant to make changes, but it makes good sense and it’s in credit unions’ best interest to embrace incidental powers and the opportunities that exist for the collaborative business model. That is the future for credit unions, it’s where CUSOs are going.” Dorsa is convinced that credit unions will only be able to compete if they have scale, and “that’s what the collaborative CUSO business model can deliver,” he says, noting that credit unions still only hold 2% of the mortgage market share. . “The restructuring of NACUSO is a good move, it will help credit unions and CUSOs address more opportunities,” says Dorsa. -

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