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Collaboration model will be rewarded with $50K NCUA grant
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (1/14/13)--Some clever innovator could soon be rewarded with a $50,000 National Credit Union Administration grant for submitting a good idea on how low-income credit unions can collaborate and better serve their members.

"Pursuing collaborations and developing new and innovative best practices can assist small credit unions competing in today's marketplace and add value to their membership," NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz said announcing the grant. She said that some of the best solutions to credit union issues can come directly from members or employees.

To qualify for the grant, a low-income credit union--or LICU--will need to partner with at least one other credit union. State credit union leagues and associations, additional credit unions, credit union service organizations and third-party vendors may also be added to the collaborative effort, the agency said.

The NCUA's Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives will evaluate grant applications based on the following criteria:
  • Substantial reduction of expenses for core credit union activity through collaboration;
  • Scalable collaborations that continue to grow;
  • Innovative collaborations that break new ground; and
  • Replicable ideas or projects that other credit unions can adopt.
Other factors will also be considered.

Applications will be accepted between Feb. 15 and March 15. The winning proposal will be announced no later than April 12, the NCUA said.

Funding for this grant is provided by the Community Development Revolving Loan Fund. For more on the NCUA grant program, use the resource link.

Credit unions of all sizes are looking for collaboration opportunities and partnerships in 2013. News Now late last year reported on the creation of Shared Service Solutions (S3), a groundbreaking collaboration among Bellco CU in Greenwood Village, Colo.; Bethpage FCU in Long Island, N.Y.; and State Employees CU in Linthicum, Md.

These credit unions have joined their call center operations into a single point of contact. They also plan to merge residential mortgage, consumer loan, credit and debit card and deposit processing resources. The initiative is expected to deliver savings of millions of dollars annually and to improve the membership's overall experience. (See Dec. 14 story: CUs' call center collaboration to cut costs, improve service)
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