Newly Formed CUSO, Xtend, Rolls Out First Product-ID Fraud Insurance

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Xtend, Inc., a new CUSO formed at the urging of CU*Answers, is about to launch its first product-identity fraud insurance.

It is among many financial, managerial and technical products and services in the works for the group's target clients, CU*Answers credit unions and, down the line, other financial institutions.

President Scott Collins said the goal of the new organization is to increase the competitive edge for credit unions that might not otherwise be possible.

"We are going to try and go after products and services that credit unions can't go after on their own,'' Collins said. "We're looking at things that are important to the CU industry.''

He said Xtend would be the starting point for CUs to pool resources. It will coordinate resources and provide managerial, operational and technical planning and consulting as well as outsource technical and human resources and coordinate marketing efforts for financial services.

While Xtend has close ties to CU* Answers- the latter formed the CUSO and invested $100,000 to get it started and is allowing the new CUSO to use its office space-Collins said his organization is independent of CU*Answers and its current CUSO alliances.

However, the two plan to work together.

"CU*Answers, formerly WESCO, was founded more than 30 years ago. It offers a wide variety of services for CUs including its flagship CU*Base Data Processing System in both an online and self-processing environment, Internet development services, member check processing and direct deposit processing services.

CU*Answers represents one-million credit union members with just under $4 billion in assets, Collins said. "Xtend represents 22,000 members and has almost a billion and a half in assets.''

By leveraging their collective size, he said, the two can provide an enormous selection of products and services that otherwise aren't available or accessible to credit unions on their own.

Collins, formerly an IBM sales manager working with CUs, manufacturing and government industries, said he will build focus teams to develop business plans and feasibility studies for projects that will initially include a call-contact center initiative, a shared branching and check cashing outlet task force, and an insurance pass-through product group.

He said his board that includes three CU*Answers directors and CU officials, has come up with a list 30 different areas to explore, including ATM network resources, shared human resources, lending limits and investment opportunities.

"The toughest job right now is to pare it down to a manageable list,'' he said.

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