PEFCU, Electric Co-op Strike A Unique Agreement

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The NCUA has granted a unique FOM arrangement between Purdue Employees Federal Credit Union and Tipmont Rural Electric Membership Corporation of Linden, a cooperative that provides electric power to 20,000 rural households and commercial sites, including PEFCU.

"We're both owned and operated by our members, so we share a similar philosophy and way of doing business,'' said Bill Connors, CEO of the $382-million credit union. "In fact, if you took their bylaws and put them next to ours and covered the names, you wouldn't know which was which."

Connors said the two organizations also serve the same rural areas. "We're really excited about it,'' he said. "Now that we have the NCUA's OK we can start thinking about ways to get it going.''

Connors said the two groups have already formulated a list of ideas on how to benefit each other's business. As it stands, anyone who utilizes Tipmont REMC for electricity, long-distance or Internet services is now eligible for membership at PEFCU. The initial plan is to market each other's services.

Other ideas being kicked around include a service that allows Tipmont REMC customers to pay their monthly bills via PEFCU ATMs or branches.

"Right now, there is no model to follow,'' Connors said, adding that the NCUA ventured into new territory in granting the FOM expansion. "They worked very hard with us to make this work."

He said that he did receive a call from a Texas credit union with a similar proposal under way.

Officials from both organizations said they hope to combine efforts to develop more products and services that benefit all PEFCU members and Tipmont REMC customers.

"The idea of two cooperatives working cooperatively has great appeal,'' said Ken Ritchey, Tipmont REMC general manager. "We feel like Tipmont REMC has some valuable services and products to offer PEFCU members. At the same time, those we already serve stand to gain new benefits by accessing PEFCU's services.''

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