The Board of Directors of CU*SOUTH has voted to approve a 4.31% dividend to the credit union owners of the CUSO.
“CU*SOUTH continues to increase both the amount and the rate of our Class A share dividend each year,” says CEO Leo Vaulin. “This is the highest dividend we’ve paid since we began offering shares to credit unions, steadily increasing the book value of our Class A shares by over 370% in the past 7 years.”
“Not all CUSOs are designed to operate this way,” Vaulin explains. “We take the 7 Cooperative Principles as core values – so we make ownership available by pricing our shares affordably, and promoting a one-share, one-vote model of governance to ensure that both large and small credit unions are democratically represented and rewarded for their participation.”
CU*SOUTH’s Class A shares are presently offered at $50,000, available to any credit union which does business with the CUSO through its multiple offerings.
“You don’t need to be a core software client,” says Vaulin. “Member CUs are welcome to sell their services to our credit union network. We follow an entrepreneurial vision of credit unions supporting each other, with CU*SOUTH creating a marketplace for this collaboration.”
“Think about how easy it is to use Uber, for example. That’s a frictionless collaboration for a job to be done. The same model works within the CUSO membership; Call Center services in times of bad weather, or compliance support when you don’t have the expertise in-house, but don’t want to hire a high-priced banking consultant. Our Collaborative Service marketplace creates this opportunity to deliver surplus capacity to help each other.”
“Both participants,” Vaulin emphasizes, “then create opportunity to earn dividends on the net earnings of the cooperative.”
In order to avoid economic dominance by larger CUs, CU*SOUTH limits share purchases to a maximum of ten.
“We saw some CUSOs get dominated by their largest investors. We wanted to make sure that the needs of smaller CUs were equally represented. Our owners with assets of under $10M get the same voting power as the largest CUs,” says Vaulin.
As part of its owner benefits, CU*SOUTH hosts an annual meeting and Visionary Conference every spring. The Visionary Conference brings together CEOs, managers, and thought leaders from around the country, for two days of presentations and workshops in Orange Beach, Alabama. The 2019 Visionary Conference is scheduled for April 8-9; there is no registration fee for credit unions.
“Open participation is a key to making this event a valuable experience for everyone who comes,” says Vaulin. “We’ll have CUs bring their entire Board, so we offer training sessions such as BSA Compliance. Our receptions promote terrific networking opportunities – I see collaboration between CUs in Boston and Austin – all happening under a warm Alabama beach sunset.”
“This year,” he adds. “We’ve got a lot to celebrate!”