For those of us with kids, the descriptor Tweenie is very familiar; it’s someone who is no longer a little kid, but not quite a big kid either. They are the kids who can see and understand what the big kids can do, and are trying like heck to do those things as well.

I would submit that Verity, and our peers in the $100 million to $750 million sized credit unions are Tweenies as well. We want to be full service like our larger brethren, but sometimes struggle to deliver as efficiently due to cost constraints, scale constraints and efficiency constraints.

A good example of this is business services. A great many of the big (read > $1 billion) credit unions offer this. They have the resources to build a department from scratch and absorb that cost until the business supports itself. Tweenie credit unions desperately want to offer business services. It’s good for the credit union and it’s good for the business community. The Tweenie credit union, however, has a shorter timeline for success because it may not have the resources to support a startup operation for too long.

That is where the beauty of our cooperative nature comes in. There are many areas where credit unions can (and do) share resources to create efficiency and provide better value to our membership. Some examples include core processing, mortgage lending, business services, ATM processing and the list goes on. I just read in CU Times that Telesis Credit Union in California has purchased a nationwide auto buying service and has created a credit union auto dealership with a national reach. Their plan is to offer equity ownership to interested credit unions so every credit union, regardless of size has an opportunity to participate. Kudos to them!

It’s cooperation like this that allows Tweenies like Verity to compete successfully with community and national banks who are many times our size. As credit unions, including Verity continue to grow, let us never forget the cooperative nature that got us here in the first place!

Randy Gunderson

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2 Responses

  1. Dan Veasey says:

    Randy, Thanks for pointing this out. The cooperative spirit really does make us different. I must say that when the news about Wings and Continental was coming out I was a little down and discouraged on the idea of credit unions working together. It seemed as if great organizations were willing to just forgo the values that make them who they are for the sake of increasing their wealth and building their “credit union empire”(as bankers might say). But I truly believe that this Telesis story you highlighted is much more representative of credit unions’ overall willingness to share and collaborate for the good of us all.
    Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Randy Gunderson says:

    I think you hit the nail on the head regarding the Telesis story. For every Wings/Continental type story that grabs the headlines, there are probably tens or maybe hundreds of untold stories of credit unions collaborating to truly provide value to their membership.

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