Credit unions are increasingly exploring the idea of expanding business services. Some are further down this road than others, having recruited commercial bankers to jumpstart the initiative, while others are cautiously observing with little or no action. In all cases, the idea stems from the considerable growth and revenue opportunities, but the devil is in the details, and there is a lot to think about to mitigate risk and optimize efficiency.

For most, the idea of diving into the business services deep end is a bit frightening. Their historical focus on consumer offerings provides unrivaled expertise in retail services, but it also makes the prospect of change unsettling. At the very least, credit unions find themselves facing a lot of questions and concerns when they start to seriously consider expanding: Is the core equipped for commercial account processing? Does the online platform provide the entitlements control, reporting and other features necessary to serve larger businesses? What transaction channels should be supported – ACH origination, wire, RDC? Plus, leveraging technology must be a priority. Any credit union hoping to broaden its business offering will need to answer these and many other questions in order to formulate a strategy. Often times, an answer will simply generate more questions.

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