Colorado Trust Co. Marks 1st Birthday, Makes Plans To Step Up Its Expansion

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Members Trust Company - formed by a consortium of six Colorado credit unions and the Colorado CU League-has quietly marked its first anniversary.

The plan now? Not to be so quiet.

CEO Tim Kenczewicz said he is "extremely pleased" with the company's direction, despite a slow start in a market category that is relatively new to credit unions.

Members Trust offers trust services to members of the six founding CUs, which it calls "shareholder" credit unions, though Kenczewicz said technically, anyone in the United States could name the company as his or her trustee, if state and local laws allow.

"We're trying to take it one step at a time," he said. "To offer trust services properly, you can't spread yourself too thin. We spent our initial year getting the word out to our shareholder members. Next year, we will expand our marketing efforts and the services we provide."

Members Trust, based in this Denver suburb, manages 74 trusts totaling over $20 million in assets. Kenczewicz said other than a few trusts under $30,000, the average trust is about $340,000.

The average size is slightly larger than expected, he said, and trusts range from under $100,000 to several million dollars. All types of trusts are represented, but personal trusts and revocable living trusts seem to be the most popular.

"It took a little longer for us to see accounts generated out of credit unions," said Kenczewicz. "Our early accounts were from professional relationships our trust officers already had. "It took longer for education among credit unions to take effect."

Other factors that kept a lid on growth included the struggling economy and residual effects of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, he said. It was not until late summer or early fall that the company began seeing a significant number of referrals.

Members Trust is working on raising awareness among CU members that trust services are available. In addition to the six shareholder CUs, the company has provided marketing materials to 10 credit unions in cities in different parts of the state.

"We have been concentrating on Colorado, but we are talking about expanding into Wyoming. We are trying to get information about the trust company out there in as many ways as we can," said Kenczewicz.

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