The ‘union’ part of ‘credit union’ is alive and well

Five examples of collaboration in action from my trip to Miami.

Many of us think of Seth Godin as a man of big ideas. When I heard the author and former .com business executive present the opening keynote last week at CUES Supplier member CO-OP Financial Services’ TH!NK conference in Miami, he said that in the phrase “credit union,” “union” is the important part. Then he asked, “What does it mean to be a union?”

That single comment set me to watching for examples of the “union” part of credit union in action during my time in Miami. I was not disappointed. Here are five of many that I observed:

  1. CUSO operations. CO-OP Financial Services is a 1,600-employee credit union service organization based in Rancho Cucamonga, California. The CUSO’s president/CEO, Todd Clark, spoke about how credit unions come together as both owners and customers of the for-profit company. Staff members from member credit unions participate in “co-creation councils” that inform technology development and their executives serve on the CUSO’s board. As with many CUSOs, that “union” of credit unions generates power. “Your budgets can’t possibly match what we can do as a group,” Clark said from the stage, noting that CO-OP Financial Services is a top customer of the large corporations FIS, Jacksonville, Florida, and First Data, Atlanta. It also has the ability to touch 60 million credit union members. In contrast, Chase bank has 51 million customers. (Read more about benefits of working with CUSOs both for economy of scale and added revenue in this special report from CU Management.)


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