America's CU Conference

Small CU Roundtable Meets at ACUC

Group discusses compliance burden and the importance of collaboration.

June 18, 2012

Small credit union professionals kicked off the 2012 America’s Credit Union Conference (ACUC) Sunday afternoon, gathering for the second annual ACUC Small Credit Union Roundtable meeting.

The group discussed issues of importance to smaller institutions, including compliance burden, regulatory relief and cooperation and collaboration initiatives. ACUC runs through Wednesday.

Mike Schenk, vice president of CUNA’s economics and statistics department and staff liaison to CUNA’s Small Credit Union Committee, kicked off the discussion noting several resources available to small credit unions. This includes a section of the CUNA website and a newly developed site dedicated to highlighting interesting collaborative efforts.

The need to reduce operating expenses by reducing back-office redundancy is one of the top issues facing credit unions--both small and large--and increased collaboration is the key to doing so, Schenk said.

“Research shows that credit unions know that collaboration can help but say they don’t collaborate more because they simply aren’t aware of successful efforts,” Schenk explained. “To that end, we’ve created a repository to collect examples of successful efforts and to find ways to encourage credit unions, leagues and credit union service organizations (CUSOs) to share their stories. It’s certainly not ‘the’ solution--but we hope it’s a small step in the right direction.”

Lucy Ito, president/CEO at CURoots Cooperative and senior vice president of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues, described the league’s CURoots Cooperative.

Launched in 2010, CURoots is a service organization established by several credit unions and the California and Nevada leagues. CU Roots’ services address the industry's long-standing need to reduce operational costs through back-office collaboration.

The cooperative’s service offerings include shared compliance services, internal audit services, and “CUVitality,” a collective health-benefits solution.

She explained how the services help credit unions of all sizes reduce the operational costs and enable them to collectively engage in activities they could not otherwise afford on their own.

Future plans include the introduction of Enterprise Risk Management services, asset/liability management and loan portfolio analysis. Other back-office services also may be added in the future, such as collections and IT services an initiative that provide auditing, compliance and insurance.

CUNA Board member John Graham, CEO of Kentucky Employees Credit Union in Frankfort and chair of CUNA’s Small Credit Union Committee, outlined the Small Credit Union Committee’s recent activities and initiatives.

These included the hiring last year of Bill Myers, director of the NCUA Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives (OSCUI), the possibility of raising the current $10 million threshold-definition of “small,” and recent efforts to shorten and better direct examinations for small credit unions.