The Southeast Leadership Development Conference (SLDC) is right around the corner and the LEVERAGE Team wants you to know we will be there! SLDC is an annual event that is open to credit union CEOs, C-Suite executives, leadership, young professionals, and credit union volunteers. This conference is designed to provide leaders with thought-provoking topics and ideas they can use. SLDC is perfect for anyone looking for motivation, inspiration, and information targeted to assist credit union leaders.
SLDC is scheduled for Wednesday, August 31, 2022, through Friday, September 2, with the hotel block booked at the Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa in Point Clear, Alabama.
LEVERAGE will be in the exhibit hall on Thursday, September 1, 2022, to show off the wide range of solutions we have to help credit unions and financial institutions grow. We partner with preferred, best-in-class solutions providers so we can equip you with the products and services you need. The LEVERAGE Team loves these events because we get to see familiar faces and meet new people in the industry.
What’s in store for attendees:
We look forward to seeing you at SLDC and we hope you will stop by the LEVERAGE Booth to say “hello!”
By John Cassidy, Director, Credit Union System Relations | CUNA Mutual Group
While the pandemic shined a bright light on a number of latent societal issues, financial inequity was one of the most pertinent for credit unions. Driving right at the heart of the credit union purpose, the unavoidable fact that financial access in the U.S. is far from equal reenergized financial inclusion efforts across the industry.
Among the programs igniting this renewed spark is the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund, which has become the single largest source of grant funding available to credit unions serving low-income and financially underserved communities. To participate, credit unions must be CDFI certified or obtain the Certification within three years if they’re applying for a Technical Assistance grant. Although the Certification has existed for decades, misperceptions around eligibility, participation, and the benefits of a CDFI Certification have prevented otherwise qualified credit unions from pursuing it. To help solve this, CUNA Mutual Group and Inclusiv – the only national association of CDFI credit unions - collaborated on the CDFI Awareness and Certification campaign to educate credit unions about the benefits of Certification and to create a network for existing CDFI credit unions to learn about and access additional resources. To complement this initiative, leaders from four successful CDFI credit unions participated in the panel discussion, Growing While Leading the Way on Financial Inclusion, during CUNA Mutual Group’s Discovery2021 conference to share how they have used their CDFI certification to help more members.
“We never thought we would qualify.”
A CDFI Certification can be earned by any credit union that predominantly serves low-income consumers and financially underserved communities. CDFI grants are meant to increase the capacity of credit unions to lend deeper in their markets and expand access to responsible financial products and services. Financial inclusion and community development are both sustainable activities and drivers of growth and relevance.
An additional benefit is a strengthened set of values-centric financial institutions that grow and deepen engagement with members. Median CDFI credit unions outperform median non-CDFI credit unions in earnings, lending, asset, and membership growth.1 Members Credit Union in Connecticut is one such cooperative doing well by doing good via its participation in the CDFI program.
The 10-employee credit union put most of its resources into low- and modest-income people and Hispanic immigrants, including undocumented individuals. As a result, the credit union is outperforming its peers in every way from membership and asset growth to new-low charge-off and delinquency levels.
Notably, leaders of the $40 million credit union assumed the cooperative would not be able to participate in CDFI. “We are located in a very high-income area with one of the largest gaps in the country between the haves and have-nots. We never thought we would qualify,” said Kathy Chartier, Members Credit Union president/CEO. “It really can help the long-term survival of a small credit union to become a CDFI.”
“It’s a very rewarding experience.”
Similarly, Canopy Credit Union in Washington discovered an entirely new line of business through its CDFI Certification. A $190 million financial cooperative, Canopy had no experience with indirect auto lending prior to the day a low-income individual in need of financing walked into the credit union. In helping that one borrower achieve the funds for a used car purchase, Canopy uncovered an important service they could share with many more underserved people in nearby neighborhoods.
That borrower was a community member with a disability who had stopped utilizing credit, and therefore, had no credit score to help him obtain a car loan. He visited Canopy to see if they could help. Because the CDFI-designated credit union believes a person is much more than a score, Canopy lenders worked with him and were able to provide the financing he needed.
Canopy President/CEO Charlotte Nemec tells the rest of the story: “He went to the dealership and told them about us and how we had helped him. That dealership reached out to us to learn how they could do more business with us. They have a lot of customers no other lender will touch – because they either have no credit or they have had poor credit. We are not an indirect lender, so this has been a new experience to work with dealerships, and it’s been a real boon for us. It’s a very rewarding experience from the members’ perspective and ours.”
Full support throughout the movement.
Credit unions that participate in the CDFI program have several influential allies on their side as they stand up for their individual financial inclusion initiatives. Aside from CDFI funding, training, and collaboration with more than 433 other participating institutions serving 16 million members and combined assets of around $230 billion, they receive support and advocacy from a multitude of organizations, but Inclusiv is the recognized national authority in all things CDFI and community development.2
Inclusiv was instrumental in establishing the CDFI Fund in 1994. With a permanent seat on the board of the national CDFI Coalition, Inclusiv sets an annual list of priorities for advancing the CDFI program. In 2021, those priorities included things like increasing appropriations to the CDFI Fund, achieving greater institution diversity in the CDFI Fund, and fostering the formation of state CDFI funds to expand access to credit and affordable financial services.
CUNA Mutual Group joins a collection of credit union leaders that advocate for increased capital infusion for CDFI and Minority Depository Institutions (MDI)3, as well as Inclusiv’s CDFI Awareness and Certification campaign. Different teams within the company get involved in similar initiatives to solve financial services access issues. The Corporate and Legislative Affairs team, for instance, is working with Congress and the state level to advance dialogue around the importance of broadband, or high-speed internet connections, in helping the underserved access financial services. CUNA Mutual Group’s Multicultural Center of Expertise ensures the CUNA Mutual Group products and experiences credit unions deliver to their members account for the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
CDFI Certification for every strategic plan.
The CDFI Fund offers rolling applications and deadlines, so applying to be certified aligns with every imaginable strategic plan or roadmap. Likewise, the requirements for application are flexible enough to accommodate most credit unions’ structure and operations. An eligible applicant...
Financial inclusion is “the civil rights issue of our time.”
To encourage more financial services leaders to confront the inequities that exist within our global society, NCUA Board member Rodney Hood, famously called financial inclusion “the civil rights issue of our time.”5 As Inclusiv’s 2021 advocacy platform states, CDFIs are one of the most effective ways to channel capital directly into communities that have been hardest hit by the COVID recession and are the last to recover from economic crises.6
Credit unions are called to help everyone achieve a brighter financial future, and CDFI Certification helps turn those values into action. This year alone, almost half a billion dollars in grant funding has been channeled to credit unions. To put this in context, that’s the amount of funding credit unions have received since the CDFI Fund’s inception in 1996. In addition, more than $2 billion in secondary capital investments will exponentially expand the capacity of these institutions to lend deeper into their communities.2
The latest expansion of credit unions joining the CDFI network signals, even more, growth and engagement for the future. This powerful program is set to make an impact for decades to come in communities across the country.
To learn more about CUNA Mutual Group and LEVERAGE, contact a LEVERAGE Business Development Consultant at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-9EXPERT (855-939-7378) for more information.
PAR North America provides a full suite of asset recovery services to LCSU/LEVERAGE client group, creating a robust partnership that can give your business peace of mind. Through their centralized Essential Solutions, PAR can help you reduce your risk while maximizing returns that lower your loss exposure.
They offer unparalleled nationwide total asset lifecycle management that allows you to save time and effort recovering your assets with PAR’s Recovery Management services. By leveraging their 650+ partnerships with recovery vendors and dedicated service team, PAR offers quick and efficient nationwide repossession forwarding and 24/7 tracking.
We encourage you to experience the power and convenience of PAR’s Remarketing 360 Advantage™ program. As a nationally recognized brand, PAR implements both upstream and in-lane selling strategies within their auction partner network, leveraging lower fees, and speeding up the remarketing process for your units.
Compliance and risk mitigation are in PAR’s DNA. We encourage you to see how they protect your business with PAR’s Platinum Compliance® product. This web-based self-service portal offers real-time access to compliance information and data for both PAR and PAR’s network of 650+ recovery vendors. You can have peace of mind that only qualified trained recovery vendors are working with your assignments.
Their dedicated Executive Sales Team is available anytime. Let us put you in touch with them.
For more information about PAR, visit https://myleverage.com/solutions/par.php or contact a LEVERAGE Business Development Consultant at email@example.com or 855-9EXPERT (855-939-7378) for more information.
LendKey provides credit unions access to high-quality consumer loans to help deploy capital and diversify their balance sheets through a variety of assets, including home improvement loan participations.
LendKey, one of LEVERAGE’s preferred partners, offers a nationwide home improvement program that works with contractors to provide financing to creditworthy homeowners. Credit unions can deploy capital and mitigate risk by purchasing recurring loan participations at a 10% equity stake, with a target net return of over 3.00% on a weighted average life of 4.5 years.
LendKey has over ten years of experience facilitating these types of loan participations and has driven over $4 billion in total participation volume to credit unions.
To learn more about how LendKey can help your credit union deploy capital, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 855-9EXPERT (855-939-7378).
LEVERAGE Benefits Group (LBG) offers a turnkey solution that provides comprehensive employee benefits and services to credit unions, all with exceptional employee support.
LBG manages the day-to-day operations associated with employee benefits administration. We process carrier enrollments and changes, as well as review employee benefits selection for accuracy. From open enrollment through termination of benefits, our team serves as an extension of your Human Resources and Benefits Department, providing the support you need for streamlined administration of your employee benefits plans. We have eliminated the burden of managing and auditing benefits election paperwork throughout the year and at open enrollment.
LBG works with companies of all sizes in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. Our broad understanding of carrier designs and exclusive carrier partnerships allows us to leverage volume for flexibility and provide more options for you and your employees. As consultants, brokers, and administrators, we are uniquely positioned to provide the most comprehensive recommendations and guidance.
Using LBG’s state-of-the-art billing and administration technology, we use that data to audit each carrier bill on your behalf and consolidate one invoice for all lines of coverage. LBG bills you in real-time, based on accurate enrollment. We begin with a line-by-line audit of your payroll roster against each carrier bill you receive to build out our system using the most accurate data.
Our technology contains a robust, rules-based intelligence engine capable of managing intricate voluntary rules or customized parameters by benefit. Our billing team ensures that only the employees that should be on your plan are on your plan and your bill. You review one audited bill for all lines of coverage and remit one premium amount back to us.