MEMBERS Development Company expands ownership as more top tier credit unions drive innovation via the collaborative process
R&D CUSO adds 11 owner credit unions in 2017
MINNEAPOLIS, MN (January 18, 2018) — Altra Federal Credit Union in Onalaska, Wis. ($1.35 billion), MSU Federal Credit Union in East Lansing, Mich. ($3.27 billion), Space Coast Credit Union in Melbourne, Fla. ($4.02 billion) and UW Credit Union in Madison, Wis. ($2.6 billion) have become owners of MEMBERS Development Company. MDC’s 50 owners often refer to the CUSO as their “million-dollar R&D budget” because, together, they work collaboratively on compelling research, meaningful thought leadership, powerful innovation, and new developments.
Researching new technology, products and processes is costly, making it challenging for even the largest credit unions to handle all the aspects on their own. According to Jeff Kline, MDC’s Chief Executive Officer, the beauty of the Company’s approach is that it is specifically designed to facilitate bringing together like-minded credit unions to benefit from combined resources and talent.
“Collaborating is a common-sense way for credit unions to save on R&D while capitalizing on their staffs’ expertise to develop better ways to serve members,” says Jeff Kline,MDC’s Chief Executive Officer. “Here’s an example: Rising student-loan debt is a serious concern for many Americans and is, by itself, too big a problem for most credit unions to solve alone. But working with other leading credit unions allows MDC owners to review private student loan alternatives and develop actionable steps credit unions can take to address the issue.”
Jack Peplinski, President/CEO of Altra Federal Credit Union says his organization’s internal business innovation department has had success in moving forward a culture of innovation. But he acknowledges the challenge for an individual credit union is finding the time and staff resources to set aside for R&D efforts.
“Joining with MDC will allow us to bring solutions to our members that they may not be able to get elsewhere, solutions that add real value while improving the member experience,” Peplinski said. “We also see real value in building relationships with key people at other larger credit unions that are as passionate about innovation as we are.”
MSU Federal Credit Union’s President/CEO, April Clobes, says the decision to join with other MDC owners was largely based on the CUSO’s focus on innovation and new-product development, as well as having access to quality industry research.
“Partnering with the other MDC owners will ultimately benefit our members, employees, and community as it will allow us to introduce new products and services at a faster pace, enriching our offerings to better meet their needs,” Clobes said. “I’m looking forward to MSUFCU being part of the decision-making process, as well as involving members of our team in collaborative projects to enhance their growth and development.”
Hilary A. Eisbrenner, SVP/CFO for Space Coast Credit Union, also sees the value collaboration with MDC will bring to member/owners.
“Being an owner of MEMBERS Development Company will help Space Coast Credit Union drive additional value to our members through product and delivery channel innovation, and development,” Eisbrenner said.
Rob Van Nevel, Chief Member Solutions Officer for UWCU, says he found the information presented at MDC’s Owner Meeting of high quality.
“Joining with MDC gives us access to research, industry insights from peer credit unions and practical solutions that will help drive product enhancements,” said Van Nevel. “We value the focus on applied insight and research that moves beyond the purely academic to actions that produce results that matter.”
Sarah Lietz, MDC’s VP, Owner Engagement, says owners benefit not only from sharing resources to find common solutions, but also from the combined wisdom that leads to pursuing the right projects.
“It’s all about collaboration,” Lietz said. “MDC’s life work is to facilitate the R&D process so it’s easier for owner credit unions to plan and implement solutions for serving members that are cost-effective and beneficial. Right now, we’re studying ways to serve small-business owners, as well as ways to use robotics to perform repetitive tasks, which would free up staff time and allow around-the-clock processing.”
Past MDC initiatives have included studies on member experience at various stages, payment systems, personalized marketing technology, and innovation skills training.
“MDC is one of the most energetic and creative-thinking groups I have been around,” said Steve Koenen, Executive VP, Retail Operations at Altra Federal Credit Union. “We can’t wait to get started.”
For the year, MDC has added a total of 11 new owner credit unions. Learn more about MEMBERS Development Company and its research and development projects at membersdevelopment.com, on Twitter or on LinkedIn.
Jack Peplinski, President/CEO, Altra Federal Credit Union
Steve Koenen, Executive VP, Retail Operations, Altra Federal Credit Union
April Clobes, President/CEO, MSU Federal Credit
Hilary A. Eisbrenner, SVP/CFO, Space Coast Credit Union
Rob Van Nevel, Chief Member Solutions Officer, UWCU
About MEMBERS Development Company
MEMBERS Development Company is an interactive network of industry leaders serving as a catalyst for success in the credit union industry by identifying and connecting disruptors in financial services. MDC’s owners pool resources to enable 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. Combined,
our owners serve 14.5 million members, hold nearly $206 billion in assets, maintain over 1,800 branch locations across the nation and employ more than 37,000 employees. More information is available at