Six Guidelines for Building Strong CUSO/CU Partnerships

If the shoe fits...

August 16, 2010
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Finding a credit union service organization (CUSO) to fit your credit union’s lending needs is like finding comfortable footwear. “Finding the Right Shoe: Guidelines for a Successful CUSO Fit,” a whitepaper from the CUNA Lending Council, explores key elements in a good working relationship between a credit union and a third-party CUSO.

Subscribe to Credit Union Magazine“A good CUSO is an extension of your credit union,” says Bob Stowell, chief operations officer at $800 million asset US Federal Credit Union in Burnsville, Minn. CUSOs have been a key driver of credit union innovation in the past two decades, particularly in operational efficiencies. They can also keep a lending area at a credit union looking forward to embrace new challenges.

A credit union/CUSO relationship can leverage expertise, innovation, economies of scale and the aggregative power to make services available to credit unions at reduced cost. “The leveraging is huge,” says Aaron Bresko, vice president of lending at $8.8 billion asset BECU in Tukwila, Wash. “Leveraging the aggregation of credit unions can make a big difference in pricing and functionality.”

Experts interviewed in the white paper offered six guidelines that can help ensure a smooth, sound fit between a credit union and a CUSO:

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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