MADISON, Wis. - In the nearly four years since its launch, aninvestments services program designed to help build strongerloyalty with more members is seeing the fruits of its labor. CUNAMutual Group's registered Member Services Representative (rMSR)program has grown to 138 representatives in 72 credit unionsnationwide since it was launched in 2001. An rMSR performstraditional member services on behalf of the credit union, but isalso registered and licensed to offer a limited portfolio of mutualfunds and insurance products to members. Besides having the abilityto increase their deposit sales penetration, credit unions can alsoeducate members on the breadth of services with the goal ofincreasing member loyalty, said Micah DiSalvo, platform servicesprogram manager for CUNA Mutual's MEMBERS Financial Servicesprogram. "Some of the most successful credit unions are using therMSR program as a stepping stone for building a full-serviceinvestment/insurance program," DiSalvo said. "The next piece is theFinancial Services Rep, followed by an Advisory Services Rep formore complex investment needs, and finally the implementation ofthe Trust Services model." For the $4 billion, Tampa-based SuncoastSchools Federal Credit Union, eight rMSRs have been serving its369,000-plus member base for two years and plans are in place toadd six more reps this summer. "Members find it useful that theycan have one person provide traditional member services, andaccommodate their investment needs in a one-stop shop fashion,"said Roy Echols, member investment advisor and Suncoast's rMSRsupervisor. "The relationships these reps develop help the creditunion retain that member's business for the long haul." The rMSRworks in tandem with the credit union's MEMBERS Financial Servicesrep to segment member services in an efficient manner," DiSalvosaid. The MEMBERS Financial Services rep provides coaching andmentoring to the rMSR and is able to spend additional timeaddressing more advanced member investment needs, which aresometimes identified by the `protg.' " One of those "protgs" at$372 million, Allentown, Pa.-based First Commonwealth Credit Unionis Nicole Vargas. In addition to handling traditional memberservice requests, Vargas has been an rMSR for just more than ayear. "The member services/rMSR role creates a level of comfort formembers," Vargas said. "We're handling all their needs, not justselling them something. And in addition to extending service toanother segment of members, the credit union's assets undermanagement are increasing." Indeed, at Suncoast Schools, assetsunder management have more than tripled going from $1.34 million in2003 to nearly $4.9 million in 2004, Echols said. "We want primaryfinancial institution status with our members," Echols said. "TherMSR's additional relationship helps retain deposit business thecredit union might otherwise lose to another provider and keepsassets in the credit union." The registered MEMBER Services repsare trained by CUNA Mutual and licensed and registered to handlesuch transactions as Roth IRA contributions and 529 college savingsplans; fixed annuities; mutual funds; and limited-term lifeinsurance sales. In addition, the training focuses on properlyidentifying members' overall investment, deposit and protectionneeds. According to Vargas, the training continues on the job withthe MEMBERS Financial Services rep. "We learn a lot about theprocess from them and subsequently pass on leads to them for memberneeds that are beyond our scope, such as stock trades, long-termcare and estate planning," Vargas said. "Together, we tie the knotin providing a complete package of financial services for ourmembers." CUNA Mutual's MEMBERS Financial Services program servesmore than 450 credit unions nationwide with their member investmentand insurance needs. -

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