LAS VEGAS (5/7/09)--Collaboration and innovation were stressed by speakers at the National Association of Credit Union Service Organizations (NACUSO) annual conference held Sunday through Wednesday in Las Vegas. More than 280 participants attended. They learned what some credit union service organization (CUSO) lenders think credit unions can do to stand out as low mortgage rates lead to a refinancing boom during a presentation, “Innovative Mortgage Practices and Opportunities.” Credit union leaders must break the traditional lending rules and step outside of their comfort zone if they want to see growth in mortgage originations, Cory Mackwood, co-founder/president/CEO, CUSO Development Company, and Keith Varney, chief operating officer, TruHome Solutions, told the conference attendees. One effective way to exceed member expectations and generate earnings is to partner with an experienced mortgage lending CUSO, they said. They cited a study that indicated credit unions operating as a part of a multi-credit union CUSO benefit from more loans, increased assets and growth in membership. Other highlights of the conference:
* A breakout session titled “Positioning CUSO Value Propositions to Raise Capital” identified the key strategic funding differences between single focus and multi-purpose CUSOs and highlighted the processes that exist for raising capital. Jon Jeffreys, president/CEO of Credit Union Student Choice and vice president of Callahan Financial Services, and Jeff Russell, president/CEO of TMG Financial Services and chief information officer and vice president of strategic development for The Members Group, made the presentation. * A preview of NACUSO’s first Executive Certification Program, scheduled for Oct. 4-7, was provided by Randy Karnes, CEO of CU*Answers and faculty member at Pepperdine University. The event will combine the educational weekend with year-long networking, featuring university programs with distance learning, collaborative project work, and an opportunity to build relationships with CUSO leaders. * A session on ways to improve a credit union’s performance immediately while strategically positioning it to succeed in the future was presented by Bill Winter of Winter & Associates and Jeff Pflipsen of HTG Architects. By examining key factors from branch location and building design to merchandising, Winter and Pflipsen shared research findings and strategies to improve the performance of a credit union branch. The session included credit union case histories and programs in place.