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SAN DIMAS, Calif. – This May 22nd will mark the three-year anniversary for Bob Siravo in the corner office of the $25 billion WesCorp. Siravo took over for a legend of the corporate network in Dick Johnson and has admittedly been a bit careful not to shine the spotlight too bright on himself. He said one of his goals when coming on was to build an image around WesCorp, not Bob Siravo. “I feel good about that. When people talk about WesCorp, they talk about the entity, not Bob Siravo,” he said, noting he is just one of many leaders at WesCorp, which is known for its financial expertise and sophistication. It’s one of the few corporates, for example, offering complex derivative services. Siravo doesn’t offer up many sea changes that he has instituted since taking over, but there is one he’s proud of. “I think at one time, like many organizations, it was manufacture and build things around an interpretation of what would be good for the members. Now I think it’s more of spending more time with the interpretation,” said Siravo, and making sure the members are driving the product line. Corporates are branching out into all kinds of different product areas these days, and with WesCorp’s considerable girth, it could probably churn out more new WesCorp products and services than most, but Siravo says the corporate must stay true to its bread and butter. “The highest priority is to stay focused on core competency and do them well. Those are the investment work and the payments systems. We want to be as efficient as possible. From there we hedge our bets along with lots of other people on what might be the next items that will be critical to credit unions’ success,” said Siravo. He said it’s a mistake to think corporates can build everything from the ground up – partnering is imperative. Case in point, WesCorp recently partnered with three major industry players in CUNA Mutual, PSCU Financial Services and the Trust for Credit Unions to create a new CUSO, Procura, LLC. Procura’s first product is a purchase card, and the idea came from a credit union member of WesCorp, the South Bend, Indiana-based Teachers CU. WesCorp has clearly become more partner-oriented under Siravo. Aside from the Procura deal, it also joined the Callahan Credit Union Financial Services Limited Partnership, which among other things administers the Trust for Credit Unions. WesCorp also became a member of broker/dealer CUSO XCU Capital, and partnered with Counterintelligence Associates for Webcasts. In Hawaii it helped launch a CUSO, Pacific Processing Partners, for item processing that includes some work with Hawaii USA. Speaking of partners, under Siravo WesCorp was able to complete a merger it long sought with Hawaii’s PacCorp. There have been talks about a merger for years, and it finally came to light under Siravo. He thinks that the timing was just right. “It was one of those kinds of ventures where it appeared to be in the best interest of the current members of WesCorp and the current members of PacCorp to combine into one corporate. Otherwise I don’t think we would have pursued this. We were able to offer additional services and better rates, that was recognized by the CEO and members of PacCorp,” said Siravo. On the much talked about competitive front, Siravo said corporates are clearly more competitive, which is good for CUs, but it’s not as cut-throat as it appears. “We in the corporate world are adjusting to it well. It’s not as nearly impactful as people think. We do not move huge pieces of marketshare. We have a specific target when we do national marketing. We look for credit unions that have investments out of the corporate world. My colleagues look at the same thing. We don’t want to take money away from another corporate,” said Siravo. WesCorp, like most corporates, does cross paths with other corporates on some services from time to time. Such as in Utah where it is trying to expand its item processing business in the territory served by SunCorp. “I believe corporates will cooperate and compete. We think it’s more important to cooperate,” he said. “I would like the image of WesCorp to be one of a corporate that’s a system player, trusted for our expertise, known for our quality of services and products,” said Siravo. One of WesCorp’s most important goals in ’05 is to become a source for loan participations. “It’s a very high initiative for us. We help intermediate between a seller and buyer,” and Siravo wants WesCorp to bring down the pricing for CUs. He thinks participating could get more complicated for CUs as the number of players increases. “I see us as becoming so competitive that we’re outpacing the marketplace. We charge 10 basis points to participate a loan. If one were to sell a block of loans, to securitize them on Wall Street, the price would be many times that,” he said. WesCorp has a special waiver from NCUA for additional loan participation authorities. WesCorp has also put considerable resources into Check 21 and item processing. Siravo believes the credit union industry has to be wary of banks in this field, even though CUs are perceived as having such a major advantage because of their truncation history. “When the banks are all online, they’ll be fighting for marketshare. There may be some discount pricing that goes on, buying at below book. That’s a dilemma for all of us I’m not sure how that’s going to shake out,” he said. As for issues concerning credit unions, Siravo, who likes to spend a lot of the time on the road with WesCorp members, says banker attacks are always talked about as well as capital concerns. Siravo thinks corporates are doing a great job supporting credit union concerns, especially with their ongoing efforts with lawmakers such as the Association of Corporate Credit Unions’ program that has corporates host lawmakers from their state. But Siravo wants to make sure corporates also take care of themselves. “Not taking away the spotlight on the natural person side, we do need some focus on the corporate side. There’s some history that goes back a along time where so much focus was on natural persons and Part 703 that some parts of 704 (the corporate reg) slipped,” said Siravo. He said lawmakers need to know how corporates are distinguishable from natural person CUs. When it comes to management style, Siravo describes himself as moderate. “I’m not hands off, but not totally separate from the organization. I’m a blend from being an outside and inside person. I want to be in the marketplace, but keep a reasonable amount of time at home to keep the team going in our strategic direction.” [email protected]

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