Our “Special Report: CUSOs,” salutes the credit union service organization—and explores some of the many ways these for-profit subsidiaries and collaborative multi-owner corporations have changed how credit unions get things done.
In a world where scale is increasingly required to support new product and service offerings, CUSOs can often spread the financial investment, broaden market demand and distribute the risk. CUSOs can also help contain overhead costs when this cooperative model is used to share collection services, core processing or mortgage servicing, for example.
Whatever the need, it seems, there’s a CUSO for that. In fact, a look at the National Association of Credit Union Service Organizations’ NACUSO Marketplace yields purveyors of everything from accounting services to Web design.
And while many modern CUSOs are so large and established as to be mistaken for for-profit firms, single-owner CUSOs still exist to deliver services not allowed by a credit union’s (or corporate’s) charter and/or to serve non-members.
Along the same lines are league service corporations, which often provide wide-ranging services ancillary to the leagues’ main missions of advocacy and education.
You’ll find most of these models in our eight-page report, with additional examples sprinkled liberally, though coincidentally, throughout the issue.
“Mortgage Tech for Every Step,” is a great example. Two CUSOs, CU Realty Services and TruHome Solutions, LLC, figure prominently in the article about moving from being a mere lender (involved at the end of the home-buying process) to being a home-buying coach (involved from house hunt to closing).
Thanks to technology, the hunt more often than not starts online these days, rather than with a real estate agent. So CU Realty’s HomeAdvantage offers a Zillow-like portal to the multiple listing services. Successful engagement with home-buyers at this point sets credit unions on the path to more loans, says Director of Marketing Tandy Vincent, noting home-buyers tend not to rate-shop but to work with the lender they know and trust to guide them through to closing.
Along the way, the buyers may need a real estate agent, one of the steps TruHome can help with, says Jeff Vossen, SVP/mortgage originations and operations. “We have a referral partner that will set them up with an agent …. Then, if that loan actually moves forward …, that loan will stay with us.”
Mary Auestad Arnold
Editor and Publisher