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CUs Collaborating More On Back-Office Ops
RALEIGH, N.C. and WARRENTON, Va. (7/26/13)--Unlike banks, credit unions often collaborate to offer better service to their memberships. Two recent examples of how large credit unions are helping smaller ones can be seen in North Carolina and Virginia.
In North Carolina, State Employees' CU (SECU), with $26 billion in assets and based in Raleigh, N.C., will provide full back-office support to help Greater Kinston (N.C.) CU minimize operational expenses and focus on strengthening and revitalizing its efforts for creating growth opportunities.
The conversion to SECU's systems and services will provide the platform to enhance the $11 million asset GKCU's full service offering of member products and services with greater convenience and accessibility, the credit unions said. 
"SECU's expertise, proficiency, and standard have made them the proven-leader of the credit union movement in our great state," said Shawn Wilson, GKCU manager/CEO. "With their assistance and support, GKCU will be able to focus more on servicing membership, community outreach and expanding awareness to the surrounding communities within our field of membership." 
SECU provides similar operational services to the Durham-based Latino Community CU, which has $128 million in assets.
Greater Kinston CU is one of the last three African-American credit unions in North Carolina continuing to primarily serve its demographic member population. 
In Virginia, $246 million asset Partners 1st FCU and $21 million asset Northern Piedmont FCU have forged a partnership based on each credit union's needs.
Partners 1st FCU is based in Fort Wayne, Ind., but has offices throughout the East Coast due to mergers and community development expansion.  Most recently, the credit union sought to expand into the Culpeper, Va., area. 
Northern Piedmont FCU, Culpeper, Va., has offices in Culpeper and Warrenton serving several select employer groups and representatives.
In June, Northern Piedmont FCU informed Partners FCU that it was streamlining its operation by concentrating on branches in Warrenton and leaving the Culpeper area. Since there were no other credit unions in the immediate vicinity, North Piedmont representatives inquired if Partners 1st would be interested in a business venture that would allow Partners 1st to expand into the area and assist Northern Piedmont in ensuring that its members continued to have credit union products and services as a financial option. 
"To streamline our operation, we made the decision to concentrate on Fauquier County," said Dortha Johnson, Northern Piedmont, president. "That's where we began, but it was extremely important to us that our Culpeper members continued to be served by a credit union and Partners 1st was the logical choice."
Partners 1st is now in the process of buying Northern Piedmont's building in Culpeper.  To make the transition easier, the credit unions will share the building for about two months. Northern Piedmont's business development representative is introducing Partners 1st representatives to North Piedmont's employer and community contacts.
Partners 1st will add five jobs to the area during the next few months and also will expand office hours.

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