401 (k) Upgrade Offers a Critical Solution

senior couple with smart phone
Karnail Kooner, CPC, ChFC, CPFA, QPA, QKA, CRA, CRC Photo
Retirement Sales Specialist
CUNA Mutual Group

3 minutes

Polish National CU’s 2018 switch supports the financial goals of its employees, plus fiduciary oversight.

CUES member Jim Kelly, president/CEO of $602 million Polish National Credit Union, Chicopee, Massachusetts, was looking for a new 401(k) provider in 2017 for a simple reason. 

“We want the best financial services for our members and, equally important, the same for our employees,” he says. He chose to move the credit union’s plan beginning in 2018 to the Credit Union Employees’ Retirement Association and its plan provider, CUNA Mutual Retirement Solutions, Madison, Wisconsin. 

So far, Kelly has been impressed. “This has been a significant step in supporting the financial goals of those who work so diligently every day to meet the needs of our members,” he says.

Better Fund Choices, Service, and Fiduciary Oversight

Kelly says the move to CUERA was an upgrade in the investment funds, the ease of access and service to participants, as well as fiduciary oversight provided by the CUERA Board of Trustees. The board—eight executives from among CUERA’s 43-member credit unions—works closely with CUNA Mutual Retirement Solutions to oversee the 401(k) plan’s financial health and compliance.

Employee Education That Improves Participation and Contributions

The credit union’s VP/human resources, Sherri LaPlante, says it was clear from the start that the new program would be successful. “The presentation to employees by the CUNA Mutual Retirement Solutions’ education specialist was lively and informative,” she says. “Employees were engaged, and many complimented the education specialist on her presentation and knowledge. As a result of this highly informative presentation, some employees enrolled or increased their contributions right away.”

Effortless and Uncomplicated Implementation

LaPlante has been through more than one benefit plan implementation, and she knows they can take a great deal of time and effort for all involved. She says CUNA Mutual Retirement Solutions strived to make it effortless and uncomplicated. “Each detail of the implementation was covered extensively, so we had a thorough understanding of the entire process,” she says. “Their staff was available at all times and addressed any questions we had immediately.”

Efficient Participant and Administrator Online Tools

A feature of the new 401(k) program that has been especially helpful so far is the BenefitsForYou website, where plan participants can go to manage their accounts, LaPlante notes. “The resources and tools available to administrators are extensive, which helps us to assist our employees more effectively,” she says. “Many features of the plan are now electronic—it saves time and reduces paperwork. BenefitsForYou has made managing our retirement plan stress-free.”

Helping Employees on the Path to Retirement Success

To Kelly, the most important outcome of the switch will be employees who are better prepared for retirement. He says, “Our new CUERA 401(k) plan features the tools everyone needs today in order to meet their personal retirement goals. Convenience is paramount. Support and guidance are stepping stones to individual 401(k) management success.”

Karnail Kooner, CPC, ChFC, CPFA, QPA, QKA, CRA, CRC, is a retirement sales specialist at CUESolutions Platinum provider CUNA Mutual Group, Madison, Wisconsin. For more information about 401(k) plans, contact him at 800.356.2644, ext. 665.7321. For more information about becoming a CUESolutions provider, please email

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