TAMPA, Fla. — The perception that trust services are earmarked for the ultra wealthy may be shared by some smaller credit unions.

MEMBERS Trust Company says where there is a will, there’s a way to bring estate planning to members. Part of its original business plan included a consortium model for smaller credit unions to join together and share the costs of either a trust liaison officer, who can make referrals or through a representative office, which uses the expertise of a credit union employee licensed to assist members with their trust needs.

“In the trust world, there’s still that ‘you have to be wealthy’ and while there’s some accuracy to that, it’s still about management of funds,” said Neil Archibald, corporate counsel, chief compliance officer at MEMBERS Trust, the industry’s only nationally chartered, credit union-owned trust company. “If there is a desire, we will do our best to make

it work.”

Archibald said while there’s been some interest from smaller credit unions, there’s currently just one in Jacksonville that MEMBERS Trust is working with on a unique arrangement. The client pricing structure will be the same for both large and small credit unions but varies best on the structural arrangements, he added.

Archibald said for most Americans, the sting

has the worst impact when it comes to financial planning.

“If you increase taxes, the wealthy have the ability to absorb that,” he explained. “Those at the bottom and in the middle, feel it. That’s where most of us fall. Every dollar counts for us.”

–msamaad@cutimes.com