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CU System
CU Home Buyers Plan wins innovation tournament
MADISON, Wis. (7/29/11)--The Filene Research Institute and the Crash Network--a group of young credit union executives from around North America--posed a challenge earlier this year to other young credit union executives to increase home ownership. “The Collider,” a tournament that funneled the question from 19 initial ideas to a winning product in just 10 weeks, asked “How can credit unions increase the availability of affordable home ownership in North America?” Filene and the Crash Network kicked the competition off in mid-April. The Crashers had to come up with new, responsible approaches for affordable homeownership. In less than two weeks, 19 pitches rolled in from the group. Round two demanded concept documents from 10 teams, which a panel of judges then drilled down to the final four ideas. “This was an experiment for us,” says Mark Meyer, CEO of the Filene Research Institute. “But we were blown away by the level of creativity and quality of ideas coming out of the Crasher group.” In the end, “The Credit Union Home Buyer’s Plan” by Robert Christiansen of Servus CU, Edmonton, Alberta, took home the gold. “The Credit Union Home Buyer’s Plan” offers matching incentives on member-contributed savings to assist members in saving for a down payment for the purchase of a home. The credit union makes an annual matching contribution on member-contributed savings every year over the life of the plan. “In an industry where nearly no financial institutions offer meaningful incentives for saving, this product could serve to drastically differentiate the host credit union from its competitors at essentially the same cost a credit union would spend on a marketing campaign,” Christiansen said. The judges agonized over which team would be crowned the ultimate Collider champion. Crashers Bill Clancy, Lake Michigan CU, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Amanda Thomas, Members First CU, Columbus, Ohio; Matt Vance , Industrial CU, Bellingham, Wash.; Lisa Brown, Tallahassee-Leon FCU, Tallahassee, Fla.; and Sean Capaloff-Jones, UMassFive College FCU, Hadley, Mass., offered healthy competition as they tested out concepts in income-based mortgage payments (CCPE Loan Program), lease-to-own options on foreclosed homes (Smart Move Mortgage), and separating the value between land and properties (Land Trusts). Christiansen’s idea will get a boost into the marketplace with the assistance of a Filene Research Institute implementation team. In addition to winning that support, Christiansen will present “The Credit Union Home Buyer’s Plan” at Filene’s annual big.bright.minds meeting in October. big.bright.minds is a gathering of Filene’s research council CEOs, i3 innovators, and academic research fellows. “I’m thrilled to have been selected for the winner of The Collider and am looking forward to working with Filene’s implementation team to build the CU Home Buyers Plan,” Christiansen said. For more information and a photo of Robert Christiansen, use the link:
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