Multiple-Owned CUSOs Fastest Growing

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Credit Union Service Organizations (CUSOs) that are owned by groups of credit unions instead of the traditional single owner are the fastest growing type of CUSO, according to a new study by Callahan & Associates.

Callahan's said that of the 749 credit unions listed in its new directory, 128 are multi-owned. Many of those multi-owned CUSOs have emerged only in the past 10 years. The multiple-owner CUSOs vary widely in function and size and serve local, regional or national service areas. Some have few credit union owners and others have hundreds; some are incorporated businesses, others Limited Liability Corporations, or partnerships, Callahan's reported.

The company said that while 66% of wholly-owned CUSOs focus on providing investment and insurance services, the trend for multi-owned CUSOs is to focus on member financial and operational services, such as mortgage, business and indirect lending programs, income tax services, shared branch and ATM networks, credit card services and data processing.

"The leading multi-owned CUSOs are driving many of the entrepreneurial initiatives of the credit union system today," said Callahan's President Chip Filson. "These initiatives are developing new sources of revenue that are critical to continued success in a low interest rate environment."

Filson added that credit unions now spend almost $8 billion on external services and products each year.

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