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Many industry observers believe the credit union industry is at a crossroads. While “they” may have disagreements about the whys and the wherefores of the matter, nearly all industry participants are in agreement that credit unions must grow in order to survive. This means coasting along doing business as usual hoping the slowing mortgage market will pick back up or hoping that renewed interest in the stock market won’t cause a runoff in deposits or hoping that darned inverted yield curve would just normalize…let’s face it we know hope is not a very good strategy and raising overdraft fees another $2/item is not very innovative.

CUSOs are the byproduct of the credit union industry’s collaborative spirit. NACUSO, the industry’s trade association considers as its No.1 primary objective “to provide a unifying source of industry leadership for promoting collaboration and innovation.” Their mission is to promote, encourage, and provide a forum for collaboration and cooperation among credit unions, CUSOs, and third-party partners to explore changing business models and opportunities for shared financial and operational CUSO services. CUSOs and the individual credit unions that help capitalize them demonstrate their industry commitment and leadership by their actions. These leaders challenge the status quo, they have a shared vision, they are willing to experiment to find out what works and what does not work and finally they act on their vision, after all somebody has to go first.

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