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Six Guidelines for Building Strong CUSO/CU Partnerships

If the shoe fits...

August 16, 2010
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Guideline #5: Make sure the underwriter has lots of experience with the types of loans you want to offer.

Part of the due diligence process is to make sure the CUSO has that expertise, as well as the infrastructure and the resources to provide what your credit union needs.

To check for underwriting expertise:

Review the resumes of people who will be underwriting the loans. Check on their experience and areas of expertise. National Credit Union Administration regulations require that whatever CUSO is underwriting the loan needs two years of experience underwriting the specific type of loan under review.

Get references from other clients. Underwriting a $200 million residential property is very different than underwriting a $5 million construction project for a doctor’s office.

Consider what they’ve specifically underwritten. For example, if an individual has experience in residential investment properties, that doesn’t necessarily mean he or she has expertise in underwriting a construction project.

• Check on the compensation method. For example, make sure the compensation plan doesn’t encourage underwriters to recommend loans just to earn more money. That’s a conflict of interest. Although it’s convenient to point to closed loans as a measure of success, it’s not the only measure.

Guideline #6: Loan monitoring is critical.

What separates lenders today isn’t underwriting, but local loan monitoring and management, according to the whitepaper. A credit union needs to choose a CUSO that can help it assess a loan, monitor the quality of the loan once it’s made, and manage it or collect when necessary, on an ongoing basis.

Not all CUSOs do that. Some only do the underwriting.

CUSOs, overall, have a more entrepreneurial bent to them than the credit union culture. If not managed properly, the mix can be detrimental to the credit union, says the whitepaper. But CUSOs, managed properly, can help the credit union see new perspectives and models to help it serve members better.

For more information or to access the white paper, visit cunalendingcouncil.org; select “tools and resources” and “whitepapers.”

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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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