ONTARIO, Calif. - With the hiring of Stan Hollen, the former CEOof The Golden 1 Credit Union and Liberty, Bob Rose, the CO-OPNetwork's long term CEO and leader in the credit union industry hasbegun his gradual retirement. Over the course of this year Rose,63, will gradually diminish his role within the Network until, bythe end of December, he will remain only the CO-OP's officialambassador to the Children's Miracle Network, a longstandingcharity through which the CO-OP helps sick kids. Rose plans tospend the bulk of his time from that point on in a classroom,teaching courses in business and management. "It's just something Ihave always felt called to do," he said, making a 15-year careerbuilding the CO-OP into one of the last ATM networks still owned byfinancial institutions seem almost like an afterthought. "I amreally looking forward to it." Rose came to CO-OP Network in 1990after serving as President and CEO of the LA Water & PowerCredit Union and holding positions with the California Credit UnionLeague and an Illinois credit union. Under his leadership, theCO-OP Network has grown from an organization that consisted of lessthan 150 member credit unions, 300 ATMs and 50 million annualtransactions in California and Nevada to one that includes onebillion annual transactions, nearly 20,000 ATMs, and 1,800 creditunions spread across 50 states and 11 countries, a fact thatappears to surprise Rose as much as it satisfies him. "If you hadtold me in 1990 that one day we would have a nationwide network asbig as we do now, I would have never believed you," Rose said,chuckling slightly. When he took on the CO-OP in 1990, he hadimagined CO-OP maybe becoming at most a Western regional network.He had only changed his mind in 1995 when a merger with CU Access,a credit union-owned ATM Network serving primarily Washington andOregon made him realize how far the CO-OP Network could go throughmergers. Rose acknowledged as well that CO-OP has reached theposition it has through the virtue of being among the last networksremaining as waves of consolidation have moved through the ATM andEFT industries. He believes it has been the cooperative,non-reciprocal nature of CO-OP's ATM networking that has protectedit from having to resort to the consolidations, mergers andbuy-outs that have marked the constantly shifting ATM industry. "Ithink the cooperative nature of credit unions is something allcredit unions have to remember and something that the CO-OP willreiterate," Rose said, adding that whether in ATMs or sharedbranches, cooperation among credit unions can only make themstronger together than they would be able to be individually. Butwhat about banks? Rose has said that in three to five years hecould see a situation arising wherein CO-OP Network took on bothbank and credit union participants and perhaps even owners. Thedeparture of PULSE from the scene as an independent ATM and EFTnetwork owned by its financial institutions is part of what hasinfluenced Rose's thinking here. The competition in the ATMindustry for both community banks and credit unions are the largeregional and national banks which can offer the public a long listof products as well as the increased convenience of an ATM networkwhich would be largely free to them as bank customers. In the endthe market may dictate to ATM deployers that they cooperate morethan they might otherwise want to do, Rose explained. Rose alsohighlighted the CO-OP's ability to take deposits at many of itsmachines as one of the key things that makes its ATM strategyattractive to credit unions - and will continue to do so in thefuture. He explained that credit unions' use of ATMs and the roleATMs play in credit unions' strategy doesn't fit easily intonationwide surveys which suggest that taking deposits is somethingthat many ATM users say they want but then, when they have it,relatively few use. "What you have to remember is that for manycredit unions, the ATM is what they are going to have by way of anautomated branch in a place where they need to serve their membersbut where they cannot afford to put a stand alone branch," Rosesaid. "For credit unions, having a fully functioning ATM at a widevariety of locations can be a real service to their members andseem less like a convenient add-on than it might seem in thebanking world." He also predicted that deposit taking at ATMs wouldincrease as more credit unions begin to adopt the check imagingtechnology that Check 21 has made possible, although heacknowledged that adoption would likely be slow. "It's not that thenew technology is terribly expensive," Rose said, "but it is newand all new technologies take some time to become more accepted."Rose highlights the cooperative nature of the CO-OP and the abilityto take deposits as key elements of what makes the CO-OP approachdifferent from the non-reciprocal ATM networks which aresurcharge-free to their cardholders such as Allpoint and thesmaller network offered by Key Bank in the northwest. "Every creditunion circumstance is going to be a bit different and every creditunion has to figure out how to best serve its members," Rose said,"but I think most credit unions will want more from an ATM networkthan just to be a cash dispenser for their members." Listening toRose talk about upcoming issues like these it's possible to hearjust the slightest tinge of regret in his voice about stepping downfrom the helm of an institution which he has helped guide for 15years. But if asked about whether he might have wanted to stickaround for a couple of years, he just laughed. "Nope, I said Iwanted to retire at 62 and I am already past that," he said. "It'stime to step aside and let someone have a chance." Looking back,Rose said it's hard to pick out any one accomplishment about whichhe feels the most pride but that the likely winner would be thecreation of the CO-OP Network brand as a brand that has come tomean something to credit unions and credit union members across thecountry. "It feels great to have helped create something people cantrust and seek out," Rose said. "All the millions of credit unionmembers who have cards with our brand on them in their wallets knowthat they have access to a surcharge-free ATM whether it belongs totheir own institution or not," Rose added. "And that meanssomething and it feels great." -


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