The State of CUSOs: Man on the Street Reporting
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — When CU Times asked some of the attendees at NACUSO’s annual conference to share a few thoughts about the state of CUSOs, the responses were diverse, but the passion was consistent.
Here’s a snapshot of what was on their minds.
“CUSOs represent the entrepreneurs of our industry. Our ability to level the playing field with commercial banks and financial institutions really rests in the ability for credit unions, either singular or multiple credit unions to own a CUSO. CUSOs come in all shapes and sizes. There is no one size fits all. It’s incredibly bizarre to consider regulating CUSOs that are set up to make money, they’re for profit. Some are combined back office operations that create more efficiencies for credit unions, more economies of scale and today, with operating costs and compliance costs so high, they represent an answer that most smaller credit unions can’t afford to do internally.”
Executive Vice President, Director of Strategic Relationships
CU Revest LLC
Read more: Built-in trust and reliability ...
“Grow started the CUSO 13 years ago. Ours is a primarily an insurance CUSO – property, casualty life and health both on the individual side and on the group side. As the credit union has grown into business lending, the CUSO has adopted business insurance so we try to stay in tune with what the members’ needs are. And, I think that’s probably the most important reason why CUSOs, especially Quorum for Grow, that our members look to us as an extension of the credit union and really, there’s a transparency there and the feeling that the employees of the CUSO are employees of the credit union. There’s that built-in trust and linkability and reliability factor that comes into play as well. Not only do we provide noninterest income to the credit union, we provide the members with a sense of security and trust as their insurance provider professional.”
Chief Operating Officer
Quorum Insurance, subsidiary CUSO
Grow Financial Federal Credit Union
Read more: Collaboration is key ...
“The importance of CUSOs cannot be underrated. There’s collaboration among all of us. In fact, just yesterday, I was meeting with a mortgage CUSO and we were talking about the need to interact more with each other so we can refer business to mortgage side and the mortgage side can refer to investment side. That’s just one example of collaboration that you don’t really get to do unless you’re at these types of meetings and you’re seeing people, asking questions and networking is a blast. Everyone needs to continue to build their CUSOs, work together and keep this business moving forward.”
Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer
CUSO Financial Services
Read more: Efficiencies and a full spectrum ...
“I think CUSOs are more important than ever in the credit union industry. There are really two reasons that CUSOs fulfill a real need in the credit union market. One, it’s to really help with efficiencies. When credit unions can work together and collaborate, they can create some efficiencies and they serve their members better by being able to invest in systems that maybe they couldn’t offer on their own.
Second, we know that these members are getting those offers from other companies not in the credit union space and this is a way we keep those members in the credit union space. By working with CUSOs, credit unions can offer their product and services as well as others like insurance and brokerage – services that members really need but credit unions, by regulation, may not be able to offer. When they’re getting offers from other firms that may pull them into the banking world, we’re really excited to be able to collaborate and offer a full spectrum of products and services.”
Senior Sales Market Manager
CUNA Mutual Group
Read more: A competitive edge ...
“Part of the reason why we think CUSOs are so important and vital to the credit union movement is the competition factor. If you look at all the new technology that’s being developed to be able to attract and retain Millennials, it’s been the consensus that we’ve heard through a lot of people at the conference that we have to have a very robust mobile banking application; that’s the way they like to do business. That’s a very expensive thing to develop on your own. But by leveraging CUSOs such as PSCU and CO-OP, we’ve got a great way to share those costs and have the best tools. And, CUSOs are fantastic at being able to keep costs down. We want to be competitive but we want to keep our costs down relative to our competition so we can deliver the best value to the members.”
National Association of Credit Union Service Organizations