MADISON, Wis. (11/25/13)--If the credit union movement was founded on the principle of "people helping people," future success may depend on the similar principle of "credit unions helping credit unions," according to new white paper from the CUNA CFO Council.
"Sharing the Burden and the Success: Old and New Ways Credit Unions Can Benefit By Joining Forces," takes an in-depth look at ways credit unions are teaming up to design solutions that generate income, eliminate expenses, expand products and services, and otherwise enhance relationships with members.
Among the case studies the paper looks at is Lancaster, Pa.-based Everence FCU's participation is what participation in the "Go Big" project--an effort of six small- to medium-sized credit unions, all of which boast between $70 million and $140 million in assets, "to essentially create a shared back office," said W. Kent Hartlzer, president/CEO of Everence FCU.
"We're trying to concentrate the areas that are non-facing and non-differentiating...the administrative, corporate, behind-the-scenes things that we all do but don't set us apart," he added, with the result hopefully being that the collaborating credit unions, "can achieve the same kind of scale as a $650 million credit union--as opposed to six, $100 million credit unions."
So far, Everence FCU and the other institutions have engaged a project manager and "put about $20,000 of at-risk capital, as working capital, on the table...to push out a project plan and see whether or not this could work," Hartzler said.
"Our basic premise is that our operating expenses as credit unions--and not just for us six credit unions, but for the movement as a whole--are too high," he adds. "Too high relative to the number of assets we're managing at the moment."