Lessons from the flying pig

Back when I started my prior consulting business I decided not to name it, being a party of one. But I did need a logo.

We’ve always done it that way!
We tried that!
Our core won’t support that!
We don’t have the resources!
It’s too hard…

In my many decades of working with credit union boards and management I had heard these excuses for too long, so my logo had to be a flying pig.

“When pigs fly,” has been a great visual for the impossible. And yet, why can’t they fly? We are only limited by our imagination, our passion, our commitment and our tenacity to GSD*.

My flying pig challenges you to “Question Everything.”

So let’s apply the flying pig principle to starting a new credit union.

Many people think I’m insane to focus any effort towards trying to start new credit unions. It’s hard. Yup. But for the 51 groups that have somehow discovered the financial cooperative model and are willingly putting themselves through the gauntlet that is the NCUA charter process I say we need to help them out.

In working with many of these groups in the last three years I have learned that there are really three major hurdles to getting a new charter today.

Hurdle #1: The NCUA application. There are very few templates available for a new charter and yet if you want to merge your credit union, the NCUA provides a bounty of resources.

Solution: I reached out to the CEO of League InfoSight to see if we could provide free policy and procedures templates with their amazing PolicyPro product to any de novo. They said sure!

Hurdle #2: Obtaining the necessary capital to open their doors. The difficulty with raising capital is that it must be a donation. It’s not an investment, and there’s no paying it back. On average a new charter would need about $1M to start up.

Solutions: The CU De Novo Collective formed a foundation (501c3) so that donors could now get the tax deduction, making the contribution more attractive. In addition, there are several CUSOs that offer “in kind” donations in the form of free services for the first year or two. CU*Answers, Aux and Xtend are three great examples. A credit union could also act as a mentor and provide a loaned employee for a year greatly reducing their human resource expense.

Hurdle #3: Opening the doors.

Solution: The Revolution CUSO. Imagine a CUSO of CUSOs that would provide back office support, shared services if you will, so that any new charter could literally plug and play. Well, there’s a group of incredibly smart people working on this. Stay tuned…

You see, pigs can fly.

Let’s not give up on starting new credit unions.


*GSD = get shit done.

Denise Wymore

Denise Wymore

Denise started her credit union career over 30 years ago as a Teller for Pacific NW Federal Credit Union in Portland, Oregon. She moved up and around the org. chart ... Web: https://www.zest.ai Details