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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.
“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: