MADISON, Wis. (5/28/10)--A relationship between a credit union and a credit union service organization (CUSO) can leverage expertise, innovation, economies of scale and the aggregate power to make services available to credit union members through their credit unions at a reduced cost, according to a new CUNA Lending Council white paper. “Finding the Right Shoe: Guidelines for a Successful CUSO Fit” explores six guidelines for successful relationships between credit unions and CUSOs:
* Determine if the CUSO’s values and mission sync with the credit union’s; * Choose a partner, not a vendor; * Keep expectations reasonable; * If in doubt, ask, ask, then ask again; * Make sure the underwriter has lots of experience with the types of loans offered; and * Monitor loans--monitoring is critical.
The paper also says that credit unions should seek to create partnerships with the right CUSO, as opposed to just monitoring a transactional relationship. “To ensure success, the credit union needs to be as clear and specific as possible about what they require from a CUSO--operationally, fiscally and professionally, as well as the scope of services,” the paper said. Credit unions must ask questions until they’re completely satisfied with the answers. They also need to look closely at the CUSO’s professional qualifications, including the type and scope of expertise the CUSO has with lending services it is assisting with. Also, review the experience of the staff and underwriters. “If all a CUSO does is underwrite a given loan, then all it is doing is filling an ‘academic’ purpose as a vendor,” said Bill Beardsley, president, Michigan Business Connection LC. “A good CUSO makes sure its work with the credit union is more than academic--its work should help fulfill the credit union’s strategic and cultural objectives.” For more information, use the links.