Our story last week explored the history and structural benefits of the credit union service organization (CUSO) business model.
Let’s take a closer look at how two of these entities bring innovative solutions to the credit union movement.
Rate Reset co-founder/CEO Keith Kelly considers himself a lifelong entrepreneur. In the fifth grade, he and the company’s chief technology officer, Bob Funke, made and sold magnets door-to-door.
A 30-year mortgage banking veteran, Kelly applied that experience to creating a product that enables consumers to reset existing mortgage terms without the friction associated with refinancing.
He touted a value proposition for financial institutions of loan retention that allowed staff to focus on new business.
Rate Reset, a CUNA Strategic Services alliance provider, didn’t begin as a CUSO. In fact, Kelly initially marketed the company to banks.
“They liked it,” he recalls, “but no one wanted to be first to market.”
The bigger complication was timing. These formative steps took place in 2008, just as the housing bubble was bursting and the extent of the financial crisis was becoming clear.
Kelly laments he didn’t arrive on the scene a bit earlier. “A reset feature could have avoided much of the meltdown,” he says.
‘Everything broke, so why not come out of it with a better model in place?’
But he found a way to turn the crisis to his advantage. “Everything broke, so why not come out of it with a better model in place?”
Kelly credits another industry veteran, Paul Ablack, for cluing him into the CUSO model. Ablack started a CUSO in 2003 called OnApproach. “He explained how it’s strategic, with the dollars coming from people actually using the product.”
Ultimately Rate Reset attracted interest from several credit union and other investors. CUNA Strategic Services joined their ranks in the second round.
In 2014, Rate Reset extended its offerings to auto lending based on a client’s suggestion. The company’s “Knock Knock” platform now supports a suite of 16 solutions.
Its latest addition is “The Button,” a partnership with TransUnion that enables credit unions to perform a soft credit pull and make instant approval decisions (a counter to the offerings of SoFi and Lending Club).
NEXT: Posh Technologies