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CUNorthwest tests small-CU initiative
LIBERTY LAKE, Wash. (3/1/12)--Sunkist Employees FCU  is the first credit union to sign with CU*NorthWest under the Small Credit Union Initiative, a pilot program designed to help small credit unions access more robust data processing and management tools.

"By empowering the credit union management with the CU*BASE toolset and the associated professional services available from our network, the only thing limiting the credit union to increase product and service offerings to their members is their own desire and creativity," said Greg Smith, CU*NorthWest CEO.  "It starts with a desire on the part of the credit union to change its future and in this case a peer partner with the spirit to collaborate. Then we contribute a truly disruptive price and put virtually every tool we have within reach of the credit union."

To qualify for the program--conceived within the cuasterisk.com network of partners--credit unions were required to have a mentor/sponsor to help with implementation and support. 

1st Valley CU, with $33 million in assets, San Bernadino, Calif., served as Sunkist Employees FCU's sponsor. "I firmly believe that collaboration is the key to ensuring survival of small credit unions," said 1st Valley CEO, Gregg Stockdale.

"CU*NorthWest's data processing system is really built for this kind of collaboration. We helped with the planning, configuration, and actual conversion. We continue helping the credit union today. The technology allows us to be really seamless and makes it efficient for my staff to help," Stockdale said.

Other programs are being tested with different configurations by other cuasterisk.com partners with a goal of having deeper discussions at the next network partners meeting in May. 

"We will now be able to serve our members with products and services we never thought were within our reach," said Olivia Bautista, CEO of Sunkist Employees FCU, with $5 million in assets, Sherman Oaks, Calif. "The support we receive from the other CU*NorthWest credit unions will no doubt expand our capacity--it is true collaboration among cooperatives."

Sunkist went live with CU*NorthWest on the CU*BASE software on Feb. 4.


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