Collaboration is essential for small CUs

By Tom Sakash08.09.2017

Collaboration isn’t just a good idea for small credit unions, it’s essential for their survival.

It’s no surprise then that the Small Credit Union Roundtable at the America’s Credit Union Conference (ACUC) was filled with staff and board members ready to trade ideas and share successes on how to grow and thrive.

Attendees shared what works for their credit unions, including:

• Community charters. Michele Lehmann, president/CEO of St. Mary’s & Affiliates Credit Union in Madison, Wis., discussed her credit union’s transition to a community charter.

“We went from serving a single SEG to opening up to six counties in the surrounding area,” she says. This shift has spurred an influx in loan activity, including a boost in indirect auto lending.

• Personalized service. “We work with our members personally,” says Larry Gerads, board member at Pacific Northwest Ironworkers Federal Credit Union in Portland, Ore. “Because our members are all ironworkers, we’re only taking ironworker money and we’re only lending out ironworker money and our members are very faithful.”

• Strategic planning. “We put a lot of effort into our five-year plan,” says Terry Settle, president/CEO at Old Ocean (Texas) Federal Credit Union. “We got ourselves where we wanted to be more quickly than we thought we would. We’re excited about what we’re building for the next several years.”


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