TALLAHASSEE, Fla.-Mansel Guerry understands the role partnerships play in helping many credit unions, especially small ones, play bigger to take on the large banks.
The president and CEO of Credit Union 24, having come to the company after running the $30-million Brightview FCU in Ridgeland, Miss., said his former CU relied on strategic partnerships-particularly with CU24-to offer services members expect today.
"We could not tell our members we are only a small credit union and can only offer limited services, but please use us anyway," said Guerry, who joined CU24 in 2012 as EVP of administration. "No, we had to be competitive and at least offer the majority of the services provided by the banks-so competitive checking with bill pay, home banking, a debit card... all the bells and whistles."
The highly competitive financial services market today demands credit unions offer a full line of services to remain relevant in the minds of its members, said Guerry.
"The key is being relevant because irrelevant is forgotten. So when that member wants to buy a new car or send their first child of to college, they think of the credit union first."
Guerry said CU24 is a trusted partner that helps CUs in the payments space and other areas. The CEO said the company is looking to form strong partnerships with credit unions either through the products and services it delivers or by providing advice and direction. "We want more credit unions to know they can turn to CU24 for guidance, even if it is not for something in our wheelhouse. If we have the answer we'll give it, or send you on to someone who can help you."
The Perfect Storm
Guerry expects many questions from credit unions about what's happening in the payments space, which Guerry described as being in "evolutionary upheaval. All the discussions about EMV, mobile, and you mix in Durbin, it's almost a perfect storm and very confusing for credit unions. Many credit unions we talk to are not sure in what direction to head with payments and need that trusted partner for guidance."
With about ten years as CEO at Brightview FCU, Guerry reminded he understands the plight of the small credit union. "Every day we fought for our existence in the shadows of the behemoth banks who wanted to crush us in a minute. We needed partnerships to lift us up-so we could be full service while still giving that small institution flavor members want."
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