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CUSO Collaboration

If you work for a credit union or are on a credit union board – You may have heard about CUSO’s or Credit Union Service Organizations. In many credit unions, CUSO’s provide critical operational services and generate much needed income.  The role of CUSO’s is expanding rapidly.  It is time we all learn more about CUSO’s.

CUNA’s GAC or Government Affairs Conference for the most part focuses on political action within the credit union movement. Nonetheless, because so many credit union executives come to Washington, DC a lot of vendors and CUSOs come too. Even though CUSO’s are OWNED by credit unions, it has been my experience that they are largely overlooked, not asked to  participate in most of the political advocacy and are lumped into the general “Vendor” category. In reality, I think CUSO’s are one of the most important – if not THE most important way for innovation, adaptability, and differentiation credit unions have and are crucial to the long term viability of the industry. As a CUSO fanatic, I wanted to help promote CUSO’s as a whole at GAC and have thus created this GAC – CUSO Guide.

What makes a CUSO different from Vendors?

Essentially, just like a credit union is member owned and that makes it special – the exact same thing is true about CUSOs. Credit Union ownership in strategic partners ensures that credit unions have a voice, can emphasize their priorities, and can customize the services for either themselves or their membership.  The people who run many CUSOs are often experienced credit union professionals who are providing the same services to multiple credit unions under the CUSO that they used to provide to a single credit union as that credit union’s employee.  It also means when the CUSO wins financially, the credit union clients and owners also win.  There are no non-credit union shareholders to please.  Many jointly owned CUSOs pay handsome dividends to their credit union owners, in addition to saving them money on the services provided and generating revenue through products and services a credit union cannot offer directly, but can through a CUSO.

How do CUSO’s enable collaboration?

CUSO’s provide the business structure to foster collaboration among credit unions. My experience has been that in order to create sustained collaborative efforts that transcend management teams and CEO relationships a CUSO is necessary. CUSO’s create an independent neutral zone that enables all parties to work for the common good – occasionally at an individual or organizations detriment. Without this – tough business decisions and issues cannot be dealt with efficiently. Sometimes these decisions are key for the health of the organization and ability to achieve something that as one we cannot. Ultimately, the board governance, shared business ideals, joint problem solving, and industry focus breeds increased trust and collaboration which yields innovative ideas and businesses that reshape the industry. It isn’t that collaboration won’t occur without a CUSO, I find it just makes it much tougher.

Where can you get more resources?

Which CUSO’s will be exhibiting at GAC?

If I missed one – please let me know and I will add it asap! 

CUSO NAME (Alphabetical) Booth #/s Website
CO-OP   Financial Services 301
Credit Union 24, Inc. 376
Credit Union Student Choice 515
CSCU 323
CU Direct Corporation 648
CU   Solutions Group 332
CUMAnet,   LLC 624
EPL, Inc. 638
MY CU Services, LLC 252
Ongoing   Operations 361
Passageways 360
PSCU 308,   479, 600
Share One, Inc. 543
The Members Group 329
Member Access Pacific 227
Member   Business Lending, LLC 454
Member First Mortgage 550
MEMBERS   Trust Company 477
PolicyWorks 430
United   Solutions Company 656

 Want more info on CUSOs?

Click here to learn about The Difference Between a Technology CUSO and Technology Company

Click here to learn about The Difference Between a Disaster Recovery CUSO and a Disaster Recovery Company

Click here to learn about the Technology Challenges of CUSO’s

Click here to learn about Ongoing Operations CUSO Exam