ALBANY, N.Y. (4/1/09)--Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) were the topic of discussion at a recent roundtable hosted by Members Health Network at Allegacy FCU, Winston-Salem, N.C., March 20. The roundtable aimed to create the first working group for credit unions to help the industry communicate and understand HSAs. “We clearly established that real growth opportunity for credit unions, especially in these difficult economic times, lies in delivering HSA services directly to their select employer groups, sponsors and business members,” said Peter Barnard, president of Members Health Network. Roundtable participants included Rodney Hood, National Credit Union Administration vice chair, and Red Gillen, national HSA analyst from Celent. Hood has been a long-time advocate for HSAs, Members Health said. “There is a lot of low-hanging fruit there for credit unions,” including HSAs that can be used to their strategic advantage, Hood told the group. This “strategic advantage” helped Patelco CU, San Francisco, bring in new members. HSAs increased the credit union’s membership by 29,000, according to Marie Gloria, HSA product manager at the San Francisco-based credit union. Patelco has $4.1 billion in assets. “I think the key was the relationship we established with a local health insurance broker in our market,” she said. “By simply making them aware of the unique service levels of our credit union, as well as our better rates, referrals began coming into Patelco rapidly.” Members Health is planning a second roundtable. “It is time for the industry to come together to build sustainable, strategic HSA services that truly compete with the leading banks,” said Kathy Hall, Members Health senior director of strategic business solutions.