Eight leading credit unions take ownership stake in MEMBERS Development Company as collaborative R&D CUSO nears planned capacity
MINNEAPOLIS, MN (June 6, 2018) — With eight more credit unions welcomed into MEMBERS Development Company’s growing family of owners thus far in the second quarter, the R&D CUSO now has 60 owners. Forward-thinking credit unions are seeing the value in joining forces to find creative answers to the challenges facing the industry today.
“It’s exciting to see so many top-tier credit unions join with us because it adds fresh perspectives and opportunities to expand our shared initiatives,” said Jeff Kline, Chief Executive Officer of MEMBERS Development Company. “At the same time, we’re also mindful that growth can bring challenges, such as making sure all voices are heard. The board and management are committed to taking a measured and strategic approach to adding new owners, ensuring that we can focus on projects that bring the greatest benefits to our owners and their members.”
As part of its growth strategy, Kline says MDC will be setting an upper limit on ownership in October, keeping the company nimble and responsive enough to make sure that MDC is delivering on the needs of its owners as a cohesive group.
Comments from new owners tie the recent influx of participating credit unions to three primary drivers. First is a shared passion to develop products and delivery systems that enhance members’ experience.
Sarah Lietz, MDC’s Vice President of Owner Engagement, says creating new approaches to meet the convenience demands of tech-savvy members is expensive and time-consuming to tackle alone. “MDC owners share resources, like staff expertise, time and financial investment, to bring about the best solutions collaboratively. At our February Owner Meeting, four of the five Innovation Council projects presented were given the go-ahead.”
Lietz says another driver that has led credit unions to join MDC is the company’s focus on keeping owners in touch with new fintech trends, as well as innovations in the broader technology sector. At MDC’s most recent conference, owners learned from well-respected experts on nurturing creative thinking, using analytics to predict member loyalty and how the Internet of Things (IoT) and Voice Commerce can improve member service while lowering costs.
MDC tackles big, relevant issues that face credit unions and their members. “At our last owner meeting, guest speakers offered practical guidance on addressing the massive student-loan debt facing our nation,” Lietz said. “Right now, credit unions’ continuing high marks for public trust and focus on money-management education put them in the ‘catbird seat’ to offer unique student-loan programs. MDC owners are exploring tools like ‘pay it and forget it’ technology, which enables member to pay off debt sooner—something most banks are unwilling or unable to do.”
Most recently, the Company completed R&D projects on Member Experience: Small Business and Personalization. Kline says current projects include researching ways to help credit unions address the student-loan crisis, auto sharing and robotics process automation (RPA).
“MDC’s history of accomplishments is also a driver motivating owners to join. Over MDC’s 18 years, we’ve completed numerous valuable R&D projects, some of which include helping to incubate new companies to provide specialized services to credit unions,” Kline said. “MDC’s new partnership with Constellation Digital Partners is an example. They provide a proprietary platform allowing credit unions and fintech providers to collaborate on mobile and online services. We’re excited to work with Constellation because it was born from one of MDC’s own projects.”
With MDC focused on research, thought leadership and innovation, Lietz stresses that new owners will have an active role in steering R&D projects.
“Without fresh techniques for looking at problems, and asking why things are done a certain way, change doesn’t happen,” she said. “Owners have the opportunity to work with our staff and subject-matter experts to blaze new trails. Our goal is to help credit unions do more for their members; namely, to help them improve their financial status. In turn, this will lead to more growth, ensuring they are strong competitors to larger institutions.”
About MEMBERS Development Company
MEMBERS Development Company (www.membersdevelopment.com) is a network of more than 60 industry-leading credit unions that conduct R&D initiatives focused on delivering meaningful solutions to the 21st Century demands of consumers. MDC Owners pool their resources to perform relevant research, develop innovative products and services, create valuable vendor relationships, share knowledge, provide economies of scale and keep a consistent focus on the horizon. At MDC, we believe our research must be driven by our owners for our owners. While we do the heavy lifting for them, our credit union owners both advise and participate in our work, making them not just investors but also partners.
Margaret Blankers, Media Liaison
MJB Public Relations Group, LLC