CU*Answers Sets a Business Development Template for New Credit Union Initiatives

CU*Answers, the 100% credit union-owned cooperative CUSO, recently conducted its annual CEO Strategies event in Grand Rapids, Michigan. During the event, Randy Karnes, CU*Answers CEO, spoke with credit union CEOs on the importance of business development within the industry, and suggested that credit unions take a top-down approach to developing new initiatives within the network. To help credit unions envision the process and to properly plan for new services or businesses, CU*Answers developed a template for credit unions to use when approaching their new venture.

Mr. Karnes noted that by being able to address the following questions and areas of focus, starting a new business will be less daunting. First, does the initiative have manufacturing value—can you bring a marketable value to the client, network, and environment? Is there packaging value—how do we mold products and services from the value proposition? Developing customers—how do we create an audience, then develop customers from that audience to proper opportunities? Pricing value—what are the steps in balancing cost, opportunity, and pricing models for a cooperative business design and general marketplace acceptance? Opportunities—how do you access opportunity, leverage it, and expand it? And lastly, what are the revenue models—can you maximize all of this to generate revenues and add to the bottom line?

“Too many firms work from the bottom up…for a cooperative, we believe it starts at the top,” said Mr. Karnes. CU*Answers added that in order to help foster new businesses within its network, it will be contributing up to $30,000 to credit unions as part of its Innovator Investment & Grant Program.