Brian Kaas speaks at the Fintech Summit. Brian Kaas speaks at the Fintech Summit. (Photo: CUNA Mutual Group)

Over the past few years, credit unions have moved beyond a phase of simply being curious about fintech companies and into one of full-fledged partnership, according to Brian Kaas, president and managing director of CMFG Ventures, the venture capital arm of CUNA Mutual Group in Madison, Wis. CMFG Ventures, which recently launched an online community and webinar series focused on credit union-fintech partnerships, hosted the first-ever, in-person Fintech Summit in September, bringing together credit union and fintech leaders to network and discuss ways they can team up with the goal of innovating and strengthening their offerings.

For part one of this two-part Q&A with CU Times, Kaas explained why fintech partnerships are critical to the credit union industry’s survival, how embedded finance poses both an opportunity and a threat for credit unions, and more. Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

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Natasha Chilingerian

Natasha Chilingerian has worked in the credit union space for over a decade. She joined CU Times as managing editor in 2015 and was promoted to executive editor in 2019. Before that, she served as a communications specialist for Xceed Financial Credit Union (now Kinecta Federal Credit Union) in Los Angeles from 2013-2015, and as a CU Times freelancer from 2011-2013. She has been a professional writer and editor for more than 17 years, specializing in news and lifestyle journalism as well as marketing copywriting for companies in the finance and technology space.

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