While every business is seeking out economies of scale, the $117 million Summit Credit Union of Greensboro, N.C., considers it has something special to offer those institutions seeking to keep their identity.“We have years of experience in operating multiple credit unions,” said Sam Whitehurst, the president/CEO in describing the affiliate program of Summit.At one time in its history, predecessor management at Summit ran five small North Carolina CUs “simultaneously through a Summit CUSO,” explained Whitehurst, who took over as CEO in 2003 and has managed to build on the CU’s tradition.“Our program combines the familiarity members of small credit unions appreciate with the convenience and advantages of doing business with a larger institution.”Two weeks ago, the $6 million Forsyth County Employees’ CU in Winston-Salem, its newest affiliate, saw the opening of a new branch April 14 and a grand opening planned for May 22.“The new branch will offer the same conveniences Summit prides itself on, but one important and very comforting element won’t be changing at the new branch location-the FCECU staff,” noted Whitehurst.Summit CU needs economies of scale just like everyone else, said Whitehurst, “but if another credit union would like to partner with Summit CU using the affiliate program, we are happy to talk with them.”The Greensboro CU modeled its affiliate program after a similar program being offered by Self-Help CU and its previous connection to the $500,000 NCFB Credit Union, which served low-income sight-impaired people for over 50 years. NCFB was merged into Summit last year.“Their very independent board was determined to keep their heritage and name in place,” said Whitehurst. “They are very proud of what they have accomplished as a sight-impaired group of volunteers throughout the years.”In 2008, Summit CU merged in three credit unions, said Whitehurst, and of those, “two chose to utilize the affiliate program and one did not. It is another option among many for the merging credit union.”–[email protected]

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