Toxic assets, bailouts and stimulus are words we have heard almost every day in 2009 from the broadcast news outlets, on the Internet and in our newspapers. The good news is that CUSOs, and credit unions, generally, were not heavily involved in the types of products that caused the problems, nor do we deal much with products that weren’t regulated before and now are. We maintain strict compliance procedures. More important, CUSOs are just what our name implies-service organizations that serve the nonprofit credit union industry, and we know that to serve credit union needs well, we must function as partners and be a resource for credit unions to grow their businesses even when economic times are challenging.

Well-supported investment programs are a good source of noninterest income. However, we recognize that in the aftermath of the last 18 months, some members may have become risk averse-and that has made CUs more risk averse as well. After all, none of us want to have reputation issues or see our members suffer financial losses. That’s why we have trained our investment advisers to take a more comprehensive approach and to look at each member’s situation holistically, recognizing both short- and long-term needs. We are advising reps to do reassessments with every client and, for those who may have changed their risk tolerance, to introduce more conservative products that have little or no exposure to market risk. People are recognizing that investment advice is something that everyone can use no matter what their financial needs may be.

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Peter Westerman


Credit Union Times

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