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Is it time to offer trust services? Many credit unions are asking that question. Profit margins in trust services can be staggering once assets grow beyond some critical mass. We’ve learned that fact from other financial institutions. But we also know that it can take years to reach that point, and that some institutions–those with poorly-fitting business models and those who fail to execute–may never get there.

This is where credit unions have a distinct advantage over many of our competitors. We value profit, but we also understand and value service. It is why we exist. If credit unions choose to offer a service that members want, that members need, and that members use, those credit unions are successful in their mission, even before profitability arrives. We believe in the bottom line, but not to the exclusion of all other beliefs. Any credit union that considers trust can define its own objectives at the outset. Is it most interested in a model that takes the shortest path to profitability? Is profit less important than getting quality trust services out to members quickly? These are not questions with right or wrong answers. They are questions that begin to define each credit union’s business model and the most appropriate means to reach its objectives successfully.

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