Morrow’s Vision Lives On at Coopera

‘Hispanics need CUs as much as CUs need Hispanics,’ former Coopera CEO would say.

March 7, 2012

Few people are fortunate to have a truly inspiring mentor. Fewer still are those who also call their mentors friends.

Warren Morrow, founder/CEO of Coopera Consulting, was both for me. Warren was an admirable person from whom I learned a lot, and his sudden passing last month has made me reflect on many things.

Warren dedicated his life and career to helping others. He touched countless lives along the way, leaving an indelible mark on many of us.

He believed deeply in helping underserved Hispanics receive dignified financial services. By bringing financial stability to a home, Warren believed, you could begin to address other social issues.

It was through Warren’s passion and vision that Coopera was created in partnership with the Iowa Credit Union League (ICUL). His heartfelt conviction drove me to work for Coopera nearly five years ago.

I could not pass up the opportunity to work for such a mission-driven company like Coopera and with someone like Warren, who was one of the most genuine, selfless, and visionary people I have ever met. Warren’s drive made Coopera the well-respected, successful entity it is today.

The Coopera team and our supporters, including ICUL and other state leagues, CUNA, and countless members of the credit union movement, are steadfast in our commitment to achieving each of Warren’s goals.

Warren had big plans and an amazingly positive attitude, and he always applied a collaborative approach to the challenges before him.

In addition to our consulting efforts, Coopera has introduced several new products and partnerships designed to better equip credit unions to serve Hispanics, as well as to attract Hispanic consumers to credit unions, including:

* The Hispanic Opportunity Navigator  [pdf], an industry-accepted strategic planning tool to help credit unions launch or enhance a Hispanic outreach strategy;

* El Poder es Tuyo (The power is yours), a consumer website created by Coopera and CUNA and adopted by more than 40 credit unions nationwide; and

* The Coopera Card, a reloadable prepaid card built for Hispanic cardholders and powered by Coopera’s sister company, The Members Group. Nine credit unions have already signed on to make the card available to Hispanic members in 2012.

As well, Murray Williams, our interim CEO; Anna Haug, client account coordinator; and I have a full travel schedule over the next several months.

We look forward to sharing our memories and our plans for the future with you at upcoming CUNA events, including the Marketing and Business Development Council Conference, Governmental Affairs Conference, America’s Credit Union Conference, and Community Credit Union and Growth Conference. We also look forward to attending the 7th Latino Credit Union Conference.

The sudden loss of Warren was stunning, yet it has not shaken our resolve to follow through on his mission. In fact, it has bolstered our passion for bringing more Hispanic members into the credit union fold.

Warren would always say that Hispanics need credit unions as much as credit unions need Hispanics. There’s a lot of work to be done and we will push on, knowing full well that Warren is with us every step of the way.

MIRIAM De DIOS is vice president of Coopera Consulting, Des Moines, Iowa.