CU*NorthWest Tests Small Credit Union Initiative

Sunkist Employees Federal Credit Union is the first credit union to sign with CU*NorthWest under a pilot program with a working title of the “Small Credit Union Initiative” (SCUI) — a prototype program designed to serve the smallest of credit unions.

The program – conceived within the network of partners — is designed to put an entire complement of leading edge credit union data processing and management tools in the hands of credit unions who traditionally could not afford them or the cost of which would pose too great a risk to the fiscal health of the institution.

“By empowering the credit union management with the CU*BASE toolset and the associated professional services available from our network, the only thing limiting the credit union to increase product and service offerings to their members is their own desire and creativity,” said Greg Smith, CU*NorthWest CEO.  “It starts with a desire on the part of the credit union to change their future and in this case a peer partner with the spirit to collaborate. Then we contribute a truly disruptive price and put virtually every tool we have within reach of the credit union”.

As a part of this first trial offering, the credit union had to meet 6 pre-requisites. One of which is to have a mentor/sponsor who has documented their desire to help the credit union with implementation guidance and is willing to coach and support the credit union’s daily use of the technology.

In fact, it was 1st Valley Credit Union that brought Sunkist EFCU to CU*NorthWest and pushed for it to be the first credit union in the program. “I firmly believe that collaboration is the key to ensuring survival of small credit unions. CU*NorthWest’s data processing system is really built for this kind of collaboration,” said 1st Valley CEO, Gregg Stockdale. “We helped with the planning, configuration, and actual conversion.  We continue helping the credit union today.  The technology allows us to be really seamless and makes it efficient for my staff to help.”

Other programs are being tested with different configurations by other partners with a goal of having deeper discussions at the next “network partners meeting currently scheduled for May 2012.

CEO of Sunkist EFCU, Olivia Bautista said, “We are excited to be participating in this amazing program and our board has been very supportive.  We will now be able to serve our members with products and services we never thought were within our reach. The support we receive from the other CU*NorthWest credit unions will no doubt expand our capacity – it is true collaboration among cooperatives”.

Sunkist Employees Federal Credit Union is located in Sherman Oaks California, has 2 employees and serves 969 members. Sunkist went live with CU*NorthWest on the CU*BASE software on February 4, 2012.