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Credit unions and fintech lenders may seem like strange bedfellows, but, in recent years, they’ve been forming fruitful partnerships. Online lenders have been growing like wildfire and, along the way, selling their loans to many credit unions that see the value in diversifying their balance sheets and gaining access to lending products and programs that could be costly to establish from the ground up. These relationships provide mutual benefits – the online lender gets access to the capital they need to fuel growth, while the credit union unlocks the opportunity to acquire new members and put the deposits of existing members to work.

It’s important for fintechs to approach partnership discussions with their business goals in mind. If growth is the priority, the fintech can find great value from partnering with a large institution with a bigger balance sheet. Yet not all credit unions are the same, so it helps to understand additional regulatory compliance requirements that are tied to the credit union’s asset size.

For instance, institutions with at least $10 billion in assets are subject to the CFPB’s vigilant enforcement of consumer protection statutes and regulations. Accordingly, fintech operators that partner with large credit unions will also be asked to adhere to more stringent compliance, reporting, underwriting, data security and privacy requirements, and should be prepared for the staffing and processes required to meet these expectations. A successful partnership requires that larger financial institutions and fintechs work together to understand those requirements, creating a win-win for all parties, especially when you consider the CFPB’s recent consent orders involving fintechs.

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