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MADISON, Wis. — What was supposed to be a routine, annual financial adviser meeting in Florida a few weeks back turned into an impromptu collection of more than $4,100 to help those affected by the fallout from job losses, foreclosures and savings’ shortfalls.At CUNA Brokerage Services Inc.’s yearly gathering, advisers typically convene to pick each other’s brains and to hear about trends in different regions of the country. Just prior to its recent meeting in Florida, a handful of the 36 advisers that make up CBSI’s senior adviser leadership team did some preparatory research about the area. Someone suggested flying down to Florida before the meeting to assist with a Habitat for Humanity home-building project in Ft. Myers, 120 miles south of Tampa. On their own dime, a small group flew down to pitch in, according to CBSI.Back at the CBSI meeting, discussions soon focused on stories advisers were hearing about families and individuals struggling to make it financially amid the current economic downturn. Those who were not able to help out on the Habitat house came up with the idea of donating to the Give Back Fund, created earlier this year to help families that experienced hardship as a result of natural disasters, such as the floods and tornadoes that ravaged the Midwest.No one’s arm had to be twisted. As the collection plate made its rounds, the advisers ended up donating more than $4,100 to the fund over an hour’s time.Jim Metz, senior vice president of asset management at CUNA Mutual Group, said he was not surprised at the initiative the advisers took on the Habitat home and the fund collection. The broker team includes 36 of the organization’s top-performing advisers nationwide who have been instrumental in directing the momentum and resources of this broker-dealer operation dedicated solely to servicing credit unions, he added.“They continue to demonstrate their leadership in multiple ways,” Metz said. “I’m just happy to be able to work with a group that would take the time to give back like they do. It reflects the credit union model.”At press time, roughly $2,000 of the money had been contributed to Habitat in Lee County, Fla., CUNA Mutual said. The remainder was being deposited in the Give Back fund account at Waverly, Iowa-based Cedar Falls Community Credit Union for future donations.“It was certainly a grassroots effort,” said Metz, who acknowledged that this outreach may seem rare in the brokerage industry. “[The advisers'] success is being driven by the market. They’re being hit just like everyone else. This gave them a lot of personal satisfaction.”CBSI provides broker-dealer services to nearly 400 credit unions nationwide.–[email protected]

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