Posted by Mr. Dean Borland, SCMS, CUDE, VP Product Development, Credit Union Resources, Inc on 7/25/2016

Every business has a purpose. At Credit Union Resources (Resources), our purpose, our Mission, is to “support the credit union system by providing innovative, high-value business solutions.” We pursue our mission in two ways; by providing consulting and hands-on audit, technology, compliance, human resource, staffing, executive search, training and planning services, and by partnering with a select few premier solution providers serving the credit union industry.

Mostly used by small-to-mid-size credit unions, Resources’ “internal” services primarily support non-member facing activities, assistance that helps credit union staff direct more capacity and attention to serving members. In contrast, solutions endorsed by Resources and provided by third-party business partners tend to be more operational – tools that support critical business processes and / or enhance the member service experience.

Occasionally, we are asked how business partners are selected, “Do you partner with the vendor who offers to pay the most money for an endorsement?” The simple answer is “No,” much consideration and research goes into the process of selecting a Credit Union Resources Business Partner.

Partnering opportunities abound – each year I interact with an average of 100 or more service providers who would like for Credit Union Resources to endorse their product / solution. So, how are Resources’ business partners selected? Here’s a peak behind the curtain.

Resources has a fundamental preference for partnering with third-parties who are committed to and support the credit union industry. But, whether a prospective partner is a member of the credit union family or an entrepreneur who thinks they have a better mouse trap, the first consideration of any partnering discussion is market potential, “Will the proposed solution make it into the credit union’s shopping basket?”

Market potential is critical because every endorsed partnership is a three-legged stool. Credit unions must believe the solution in sufficient quantity to provide financial returns to satisfy the provider’s profitability expectations and fund a financial commitment to Resources. Yes, vendors pay Resources to endorse their solution. Resources, in turn, uses the money obtained from business partner endorsements to help fund Cornerstone League and Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation activities, thereby helping minimize the cost of League affiliation and enhancing the affiliate value proposition for League affiliates.

IF preliminary examination of a product solution and its market potential suggests promise, Resources performs a market evaluation. We involve credit unions within the solution’s target market, either informally or via focus groups, to determine whether it is something the credit union would purchase and use. On occasions where the solution directly touches members, credit unions have been enlisted to participate in pilot programs, actually testing the solution’s market potential with their own members.

IF credit union feedback from the market study is favorable, Resources will pursue consideration of the solution as an endorsed product. But, we don’t limit the search to the initial contact. Our process is to identify three to five providers of similar solutions (if possible) and issue an RFP (request for proposal). The RFP document is formidable, asking for company history and structure, financial statements, product/service description, credit union clients, a technical overview (including privacy policies, technical audit reports / findings, security features, etc.), estimated market potential, and a product / service value assessment that includes pricing and value projections.

RFP responses are compared in a side-by-side analysis and reviewed by Credit Union Resources’ Technical Evaluation Panel (TEP), a committee composed of Resources and Cornerstone League senior leaders. The TEP is a major decision point for product endorsements. The TEP is empowered to table an endorsement consideration or, if it determines that the solution (and a specific provider) present a viable opportunity, a referral is made to the Cornerstone League CEO for review.

IF our CEO agrees with a TEP recommendation to pursue an endorsement, the recommendation is then placed on the Credit Union Resources Board agenda for review, consideration, and decisioning. The board has three choices in decisioning an endorsement recommendation: (1) instruct staff to reconsider the recommendation and report back to the Board with additional information, (2) deny the solution / recommendation, or (3) approve the recommendation and pursue the endorsement.

IF the proposal is approved by the Board, the League / Resources’ general counsel is engaged to negotiate a formal marketing agreement between Resources and the proposed new business partner, cementing the terms of the partnership. When contract negotiations are complete and the document is signed by all parties, Resources staff engage the business partner to develop plans supporting the terms of the agreement. It is not uncommon for the process, start to finish, to take nine months to a year or more.

So, a new Business Partner relationship is born, but the due diligence process is not over. With each contract renewal (generally annually), Credit Union Resources performs follow-up due diligence, rechecking financials, monitoring changes in the Company’s business strategies and market posture, and documenting feedback credit unions have provided to Cornerstone League Representatives and the Resources Sales Team.

IF the business partner is not performing up to your standards (or the standards Resources enforces on your behalf), the contracts are not renewed at maturity.

In summary, you can be assured that Credit Union Resources has the best interest of credit unions in mind as we strive to fulfill our mission to “support the credit union system by providing innovative, high-value business solutions.”

Categories: Business Partners
Posted by Mrs. Cheryl Sayers, Director of Training Remote Transaction Resources, Credit Union Resources, Inc on 7/22/2016

Credit Unions Celebrate….. Why not!?

There is a date to celebrate almost anything.  We celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, holidays, and special milestones that we have reached throughout or lives.

Each year on the third Thursday of October we have our own special day.  Credit unions celebrate International Credit Union Day!  We take the day to look at our accomplishments and what we have achieved.  This is shared with our membership and communities by credit unions across the globe.  Fundraisers are done, an open house at your credit union is held, there are drawings for prizes for the membership, and the community is involved.  We create a way for people to be made aware of our credit unions and what we have to offer.  This year we celebrate on October 20, “The Authentic Difference”!  Credit Union National Association, CUNA offers posters and logos to bring awareness to this special day.

Credit Unions began in the early 19th century Europe by farmers faced with crop failure and famine that devastated their communities.  They created a pool of funds to use and make loans to each other.  Well, we have come a long way baby!

Credit unions of today offer the perfect package for our membership!  This includes multiple types of loans, share accounts, and investments opportunities.  Originally, it was automated phone systems like “Star Teller” then ATM and Debit Cards to credit cards.  Direct deposit from employers, retirement systems, and others mean no lost checks in the mail.  We have moved on to give our membership more options to access their accounts such as online banking and SPRIG.  Members can sit at home in their PJ’s to pay bills and move money between their accounts and others, or even make a deposit by check using a mobile devise just by taking a picture of it.  We as a cooperative share our locations with each other to offer over 5,000 branches to our membership via Shared Branching to do basic account transactions.

Our credit union philosophy is “People helping people” we are “Not for profit, member owned, financial cooperatives.  On October 20, 2016 credit unions, their employees, and volunteers will celebrate with over 217 million credit union members across the globe our history and accomplishments!  We have come a long way baby!  Celebrate!

Categories: Education & Training, Marketing & Printing, Remote Transaction, Research, Sales & Service
Posted by Joseph T Sefcik, Jr., President, Employment Technologies Corporation on 7/21/2016

A NOTE FROM JOSEPH SEFCIK: Given the ever-changing landscape in financial services delivery, I have asked our Director of Innovation, Joe LaTorre to share his insights with you. Joe and his team keep Employment Technologies on the cutting-edge of product design and development for talent prediction.


If you’re old enough, you probably remember going to credit union or bank as a regular occurrence.  Many of us went at least once a week. Depositing our pay checks, getting cash for the weekend, or simply asking questions about the status of our accounts were all common reasons for a weekly visit.  Tellers were easily some of the most visible and recognized members of the community.  My mom worked as an officer in our community bank, and we couldn’t go anywhere without her being recognized.  It felt like we were hanging out with a celebrity every time we went out to dinner.

All that is changing. And those changes have a significant impact on hiring. In the next few blogs, I’ll be sharing key issues facing credit unions, how they impact hiring and staffing models, and what credit unions can do to prepare for and embrace opportunities that lie ahead. The good news is that many credit unions are ahead of the curve when compared with traditional banks and financial centers, in transitioning their operations to best serve the evolving needs of their members.

Keeping Pace with Technology

Technology has changed our lives to the core, and its impact on credit unions is profound.  Tech savvy members now expect to conduct most of their routine transactions on-line without ever setting foot inside a traditional branch. Credit unions are being forced to keep pace with new technologies and the establishment of ‘digital branches’ is a top priority.  A study commissioned and conducted by International Data Corp predicts that in 2017, financial centers worldwide will invest approximately $16 billion in branch transformation and related technologies.  

Creating a Seamless Member Experience

These changes don’t mean that members no longer want or need to walk into a branch and talk to someone.  While online services continues to grow, visiting a branch remains right on its heels. So, it’s not that members are no longer visiting branches; they are visiting them for different reasons.  After all, questions about our money or how to manage our wealth get our attention very quickly. Most of us still strongly prefer to talk to a living, breathing trusted advisor. With branch traffic down, credit unions recognize how critical it is to treat each and every member touchpoint as a valued opportunity to learn about their financial needs and become that trusted advisor. JLL Research agrees that financial centers must use a multi-channel approach to reach out to members at every stage of their financial journey. And with CU membership projected to grow over the next two years, as reported in CUNA’s recent Credit Union Trends Report, it’s more critical than ever to ensure each member interaction is an outstanding, seamless, and confidence-building experience.

Transitioning Employees to New Job Demands

The traditional teller role is morphing into a universal banker role that requires employees to go far beyond processing basic transactions. To succeed in this new role, every member touchpoint needs to transition to financial discovery, to identify additional products and services that will benefit each member's financial goals. This requires highly-skilled employees that are comfortable not only performing transactions but also constantly seeking opportunities to position new products and services.  Today’s universal bankers must be tech savvy so they can help members resolve digital service issues, and they must be knowledgeable of the CU's complete financial service and product offering.

Bridging Performance Gaps

While many credit unions are eager to embrace change, their existing employees may be uncomfortable or unwilling to transition into new roles. For instance, technical issues that arise from online services present new and difficult problems for less tech savvy employees. Also, employees that were hired as traditional tellers may find it difficult to transition to a sales role.  Navigating these transitions can be tricky and CUs can’t expect the change to occur over night.  It’s a difficult balancing act between keeping long-tenured employees with years of experience and relationship building, with the realities of transitioning to new job demands.

Preparing the Next Generation of Leaders

Staffing challenges are magnified by the fact that currently 60 to 65 percent of financial services employees are older than 40, according to Accenture research findings.  Adding to the challenge is the fact that by 2021, millennials will account for a majority of the employees in these key roles.  Retaining the knowledge that is walking out the door, and identifying and preparing the next generation of leaders is essential for ongoing success. These challenges will require forward-thinking credit unions to reevaluate the tools and processes used to select, retain, and develop the next generation of credit union employees.

Stay tuned for our next blog as we discuss the impact of these changes on hiring and what future-focused credit unions can do to overcome these challenges.

You're Invited: Share Your Story!

Have a credit union memory to share? I’d love to hear from you! Just drop me a line at

Categories: Employment & Staffing, Human Resources, Strategic Planning & Consulting
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