CU Competitors Collaborate and Win

hands together sports team
Lisa Hochgraf Photo
Senior Editor

3 minutes

Coinciding with CUES on CUSOs, top credit union service organization innovators were recognized today by NACUSO.

$1.8 billion ORNL Federal Credit Union and $1 billion Y-12 Federal Credit Union are competitors located just a mile from each other in the same market of Oak Ridge, Tenn. Yet a few years ago, they decided to start collaborating for the benefit of all their members, including creating CU Community Title.

Today, the two won the CU of the Year Collaboration & Innovation Award at the National Association of Credit Union Service Organizations' event in Orlando.

This month, through the superhero-themed "CUES on CUSOs," every CUES content channel is focusing on credit union service organizations' "secret powers." "Just like the special skills of comic heroes help cities and their citizens, the special skills of CUSOs help credit unions and their members"--through innovation, efficiency and expertise, the landing page says.

So we're excited about how ORNL FCU and Y-12 FCU (which combined boast more than two dozen CUES members) have worked together. We're also pleased to learn how these additional NACUSO honorees have gone about their innovative and collaborative work:

$30 million Element Federal Credit Union, Charleston, W.Va., received the 2017 Credit Union of the Year CUSO Leverage Award for setting the bar on how to use CUSO collaborations to lower costs; provide expanded products and services it would be difficult for the CU to provide on its own; and create value for members through collaboration. Element FCU CEO/Innovator Linda Bodie is the star of CUES on CUSOs' podcast, "Innovating With CUSOs."

$663 million Denali Federal Credit Union, Anchorage, Alaska, was recognized with the CU of the Year Leading Edge Innovation Award for developing innovative new CUSO collaborations around analytics—such as OnApproach and Deep Future Analytics.

When CEO Mike Joplin accepted the New CUSO of the Year Award on behalf of CU Revest, San Diego, he explained the asset management CUSO's philosophy: “Bad things happen to really good people. We help them find a way back to their credit union with dignity and compassion.”

Greg Smith, CEO of CU*Northwest, Liberty Lake, Wash., accepted the CUSO of the Year award by saying: "We knew that people sharing their core processor would be better off. For over 10 years, we have focused on our owners' voices, learning about their problems and leveraging the cooperative movement.”

In NACUSO's Next Big Idea Competition, an onsite challenge not unlike CUES Next Top Credit Union Exec, startup CUSO Constellation earned the top honor, garnering 41 percent of the audience vote this afternoon.

"The sky is no longer the limit," said CUES member Kris Kovacs, CIE, SVP/chief information officer of $2.7 billion Coastal Federal Credit Union, Raleigh, N.C., in his presentation to the judges and the NACUSO event audience. "Every star in the sky is a potential partner. That’s why we named our company Constellation. On your mobile app, you can find a CO-OP ATM, get a car loan from CUDL. They are our partners.

"Constellation the CUSO is going to launch in two weeks, but this is our coming out party," he noted. "The first product rolls out in the fourth quarter."

All in all, that's a lot of CUSO innovation in one blog post. 

Lisa Hochgraf is CUES' senior editor.

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