Local Government Federal Credit Union and Florida A&M University Federal Credit Union in Tallahassee have entered into a partnership to help each credit union improve services to their memberships.
Finding common bonds
The credit unions have agreed to collaborate on strategy, governance and operations. Maurice Smith, LGFCU’s Chief Executive Officer, said this approach gets to the heart of credit unions helping one another succeed. The newly formed relationship is a two-way street, he said.
“It would be shortsighted to believe large credit unions cannot learn from small institutions,” said Smith. “We intend for both organizations to benefit each other. LGFCU is thankful Florida A&M University Federal Credit Union (FAMUFCU) and its board are willing to collaborate with us.”
LGFCU is a $2 billion institution serving over 300,000 local government employees, officials, volunteers and their families. FAMUFCU was established in 1935 to serve the employees of the university. Today FAMUFCU is a full-service provider serving over 3,700 FAMU employees and students. Despite the size difference, the two credit unions can still benefit from each other’s experiences, Smith noted.
As part of the agreement, the credit unions will provide each other with advice and support. With a revolving door policy, each institution will share best practices and innovations with the other.
“One of the enduring hallmark traits that distinguish credit unions from other kinds of financial institutions is our nature to help each other. Consequently, it should not be a surprise to anyone that our two credit unions would link up,” explained Smith.
FAMUFCU CEO Ernest Allen said he envisions growth for his credit union from the LGFCU relationship.
“FAMUFCU has become a more enabled and powerful institution because of its connection with LGFCU,” Allen said. “We feel fortunate to have the wherewithal of a multi-billion dollar enterprise supporting our cause.”
A history of collaboration
As the chairman of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Board of Directors, Smith said he wants to ensure the sustainability of all credit unions. He believes the withdrawal of locally-owned and -based institutions makes some communities vulnerable.
“Sustainable economic development often comes from within the community. When hometown financial institutions pull up their tents and leave, low-wealth consumers are the first to suffer,” said Smith.
The partnership between LGFCU and FAMUFCU is another reason the credit union movement will endure, with partnership an important part of its culture.
Jim Nussle, president and CEO of CUNA, said, “Collaboration can help better serve members. Working together will continue to support the cooperative industry, and our mission to foster communities and growth.”
CUNA is the largest and most influential financial services trade association in the country, advocating on behalf of all of America's credit unions and their members.
Credit union collaboration isn’t a new idea. There are many examples of credit unions helping each other across the country, as part of the cooperative spirit behind every credit union. Discover more about credit union philosophy and collaboration at How Credit Unions Work.