After nearly five years of providing research to benchmarkcredit union investment and insurance programs, Snyder ConsultingSolutions' studies has been acquired by management consulting firmKehrer Saltzman & Associates.

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The acquisition finalized on Jan. 14 for an undisclosedamount. 

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Based in Waxhaw, N.C., Kehrer Saltzman is a strategic managementconsulting firm that provides the financial advice industry withresearch and experience in managing the delivery of investment,insurance and wealth management services. It currently serves morethan 100 bank clients. 

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Pete Snyder, who founded the investment and insuranceconsulting firm SCS in January 2006 and launched the benchmarking studies in 2007, is now vice president offinancial services at the $8 billion The Golden 1 Credit Union inSacramento, Calif. He started in his new role on Aug. 27,2012. 

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Past studies have looked at a number of areas, including totalprogram gross revenue or fee income received from thebroker-dealer, number of face-to-face financial consultants, numberof investment accounts and total value of invested dollars andcompensation and operating expenses for the program. 

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Kehrer Saltzman and SCS said they have put in place an agreementthat will significantly expand the scope of the retail investmentservices benchmarking and consulting services that will beavailable to all credit unions beginning with the launch of theKehrer Saltzman 2012-2013 “Credit Union Retail Investment ServicesProductivity and Performance” study.

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Credit union executives will also have access to regionalworkshops, webinars and additional consulting services to managetheir business during a time of declining margins, the firmsaid. 

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Kenneth Kehrer, one of the principals of Kehrer Saltzman, hasbeen studying the transformation of banks and credit unions tofinancial services stores since the early 1980s. His research hasalso helped to influence the metrics used by industry practitionersto assess their businesses and assimilate best industrypractices.

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Snyder and Kehrer said they have known each other for years andhad ongoing conversations about working together over the pastcouple of years. Those talks were brought to a head with Snyder'snew position at The Golden 1. 

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“Pete was doing a fine job serving the credit union community. Ithink he found that there was a narrow bandwidth for what he wantedto accomplish,” Kehrer said. “By joining forces, there's morestrength.”

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Snyder said he is no longer affiliated with SCS or thebenchmarking studies. 

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“It became clear to me that my passion is in the business ofmanaging one or more programs inside credit unions,” Snyder said.“As much as I enjoyed the benchmarking, my passion is in thebusiness. I was looking for a way to get back into the businesschannel and the opportunity at the Golden 1 came up.”

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Snyder said Kehrer is without question the original and foundingpioneer in benchmarking for the financial institution investmentbrokerage and annuity channel.

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“While his early work focused on the bank side of the business,Dr. Kehrer and the KehrerSaltzman team recognizes the need that exists in the creditunion channel to expand the menu of benchmarking tools andresources that are specific to the needs of credit unions,” Snydersaid. 

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Although Kehrer has consulted with more than 100 banks to helpthem set up their investment and insurance programs, heacknowledged he has only worked with a handful of credit unions.Acquiring SCS' benchmarking studies will open up the window widerto aid more in the industry, he noted. With more than 2,000financial advisers providing members with investment guidance andadvice in the branches of nearly 1,000 credit unions, Snyder saidthere's ample room to grow.

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“These are tough economic times for credit unions. They canreally use the income from investment services,” Kehrer offered.“More importantly, members need a trusted adviser to turn to.They're aware of a lot of sharks out there and credit unions canhelp navigate through those difficult waters.”

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What Kehrer has discovered through a consumer study on creditunion members is that American families trust them more than banksand brokerage firms by a wide margin.

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“All people want to work with credit unions, but they're doinginvestment business elsewhere. This leaves an opportunity on thetable in terms of fee income,” Kehrer said. 

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To help make the additional income a potential reality, KehrerSaltzman was scheduled to send out surveys to hundreds of creditunions at the end of January for the debut of the Kehrer Saltzman2012-2013 “Credit Union Retail Investment Services Productivity andPerformance” study. Kehrer said he hopes to get responses back inFebruary and will unveil the study at NACUSO's annual conferencemeeting, which will take place April 16-19 in LasVegas. 

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“Pete has helped us understand the culture and nuances of creditunions and the challenges and opportunities of running investmentprogram inside credit unions,” Kehrer said. “It's a learning curvefor us.”

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Because the data collected for the benchmarking studies arealways organic, Kehrer said there will continue to be an emphasison listing to the survey population on their wants and needs. Hedoesn't expect the data to be static, comparing it to the firstbanking survey he conducted in 1991. Back then, it was one page.Today, it is now over 20 pages. 

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Another way Kehrer Saltzman will be able to expand its knowledgeof credit unions is through NACUSO's investment services advisoryboard of which Snyder will continue to serve on.  NACUSO President/CEO Jack Antonini said Snyder's leadership onthe board has helped to tap into issues that are top of mind fromthose credit unions offering investment and insurance programs.

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“Pete has done a fantastic job over the years through hisinsights and being aware of what's going on and also bringingleaders from the investment and insurance sides to talk aboutdevelopments, topics and challenges,” Antonini said.

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While Snyder will continue to serve on NACUSO's investmentservices advisory board, he is no longer a member of the group'sboard.

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This is not Snyder's first stint at The Golden 1. He said he worked at the credit union from 1989through 1997 in a different capacity. 

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“In my new role, I very much look forward to taking advantage ofthe expanded menu of benchmarking and consulting services that theKehrer Saltzman team will be able to bring to the table for creditunions,” Snyder said. 

 

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