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Constellation and Bonifii enable simple, secure authentication for credit union members

April 13, 2022 – Constellation Digital Partners announced today that it will launch a new certified service for Meritrust Credit Union that will provide privacy-preserving, verifiable digital identity credentials through its platform. The innovative solution to authenticating membership identity, MemberPass™, is enabled through the strategic partnership with fintech industry veteran Bonifii.

“MemberPass is a breakthrough identity technology that provides credit unions and their members with a myriad of security benefits,” said John Ainsworth, CEO, and President of Bonifii. “It upgrades security authentication protocols and helps credit unions move beyond knowledge-based authentication questions. Instead, a MemberPass digital credential allows Meritrust members to authenticate who they are using new blockchain-based identity technology. This allows them to control their personal information and use it in a safe and private way to access financial services.”

“Meritrust is working to improve members’ financial well-being by staying connected not only through these extraordinary times but beyond,” said Holly Terrill, Director of Member Support Services, at Meritrust Credit Union, “Even before the pandemic created an urgency for digital banking, Meritrust made it a priority to offer a range of services that make it easy to bank on members’ personal time. With the launch of MemberPass, we can now reduce friction while delivering the control and security over personal information that our members need to interact with us when it’s most convenient for them.”

Through Constellation and its roster of other credit unions planning deployment, Bonifii can connect and deliver benefits to more credit union members. With this type of strategic collaboration, Bonifii enables credit unions to drive and improve engagement with their members and provide them the privacy and security they need while using digital banking and financial services.

“The value of Constellation is the cutting-edge safety and industry-leading fintech innovation provided by Bonifii,” said David Lindner, SVP of Sales and Marketing. “Credit unions that deploy on our platform with either full digital banking or even stand-alone services will have the capability to provide MemberPass to members. Our credit union partners can feel confident in the simple integration and superlative data security.”

To learn more about Constellation, visit Connect with Constellation on TwitterInstagram (@ConstellationDP), Facebook and LinkedIn.

About Constellation Digital Partners, LLC

Constellation has created the first open development platform dedicated to credit union and fintech app development. This patented, secure, and flexible cloud-based ecosystem provides credit unions and innovative app developers the ideal platform to deliver safe, reliable, and next-generation digital financial service experiences. Credit unions now have the freedom to compete, innovate, and thrive in the financial services industry. First, by redefining what they offer, and second by delivering digital financial services in a way that places members squarely at the center of their business strategy. Visit to learn the latest innovations. Connect with Constellation on TwitterInstagram (@ConstellationDP), Facebook and LinkedIn.

About Bonifii

MemberPass™ is provided by Bonifii®

Denver-based Bonifii is the financial industry’s first verifiable exchange network designed to enable trusted digital transactions using open standards and best-of-breed security technologies. Bonifii empowers credit unions to change the way they interact with their members by enabling a seamless user experience in every financial transaction through a secure, private, trusted, and transparent resolution of the entities’ identity. To learn more about Bonifii, visit, email us at, or follow the company on the Bonifii blog, LinkedIn, or Twitter.

 About Meritrust Credit Union

Meritrust Credit Union has been helping its members do more with their money since 1935. The credit union now serves nearly 107,000 members with $1.3 billion in assets. Meritrust is headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, with 16 retail branches providing expert, advisory experiences, complemented by online, mobile and eATM technology allowing members to bank on their time. It’s easy to join Meritrust, and membership is open to most anyone. With a mission of improving the lives of members and the communities it serves, Meritrust offers consumers and businesses the products, services, tools and education they need to achieve their financial goals with confidence. For more information, visit Federally insured by NCUA.

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True North Federal Credit Union partners with PSCU for credit and debit processing support

April 13, 2022 — PSCU, the nation’s premier payments credit union service organization (CUSO), has announced that True North Federal Credit Union (True North) has selected the CUSO for credit and debit processing support and services.

Headquartered in Juneau, Alaska, True North has been serving its members since 1948, guided by its mission to improve the economic well-being of the members, employees and communities it serves through quality financial solutions. Today, True North makes contributions to civic and nonprofit organizations, as well as recreational and charity events that serve local communities across Anchorage, Juneau and other parts of the state.

With more than $205 million in assets, True North was looking for a partner committed to quality and communication. The credit union was also seeking a provider that would uphold the superior level of service its members have come to expect from their credit union.

“Our team has been watching PSCU closely, and we were impressed with everything the CUSO has accomplished over the past several years, as well as how dynamic it has become,” said Lauren MacVay, president and CEO of True North. “We are pleased to partner with an organization that demonstrates such a consistent commitment to credit unions, as we feel confident PSCU is well-positioned to best lead us into the future.”

PSCU will begin providing credit and debit processing services and support to more than 12,600 True North members in October 2022.

“True North’s dedication to the credit union philosophy of ‘people helping people’ is a value shared by PSCU,” said Scott Wagner, EVP, chief revenue officer at PSCU. “We are pleased to welcome True North to the cooperative and look forward to putting our industry-leading solutions to work to deliver an unparalleled experience for their members.”

About PSCU

PSCU, the nation’s premier payments CUSO, supports the success of 1,900 credit unions representing nearly 7 billion transactions annually. Committed to service excellence and focused on innovation, PSCU’s payment processing, risk management, data and analytics, loyalty programs, digital banking, marketing, strategic consulting and mobile platforms help deliver possibilities and seamless member experiences. Comprehensive, 24/7/365 member support is provided by contact centers located throughout the United States. The origin of PSCU’s model is collaboration and scale, and the company has leveraged its influence on behalf of credit unions and their members for more than 40 years. Today, PSCU provides an end-to-end, competitive advantage that enables credit unions to securely grow and meet evolving consumer demands. For more information, visit

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March Spending Trends: Return to Seasonality

April 13, 2022 –  As unremarkable as it may seem, seasonal predictability has been largely missing over the past two-plus years, thanks to the pandemic and its associated economic volatility. The big news this month is that, according to Co-op credit union card portfolio data, consumer spending is returning to historically typical behavior patterns and showing robust increases across every major category.

March’s economic data continued the mostly positive trend of the past few months, as nonfarm payrolls grew by 431,000 in March and the unemployment rate declined once again to 3.6%, barely above the 50-year record low just prior to the pandemic.

Inflation is high, and though gas prices have started to trend down in recent days, they are still at historical highs and expected to remain volatile with Americans paying an average of $4.16 per gallon, $1.30 higher than a year ago.

Economists are expressing concern around a potential recession later this year or into 2023, as the Federal Reserve aggressively raises its benchmark interest rate to counteract inflationary pressures over the next several months. The Fed raised rates by .25% at its March meeting, and has signaled its intention to implement further increases of as much as half a point at its next three meetings in May, June and July.

Here are some key spending trends the Co-op SmartGrowth Consulting Team are watching this month:

#1: Every Merchant Category Grew Month-over-month

Co-op’s March credit union spending data showed double-digit month-over-month increases in every major category across both the debit and credit portfolios. The Dining & Entertainment, Gas, Lodging, Medical, Retail, Travel Campers & Camping, Home Improvement and Sport/Recreation categories were all particularly strong.

The challenge for consumers – which may be the fly in the ointment for a while yet – continues to be supply chain disruption, coupled with long waits for goods and services due to deferred demand over the past two years.

A case in point is the wedding industry. According to NPR, spending per wedding is expected to jump 15 to 25% this year due to pent-up demand, inflation and higher costs of labor and supplies.

“Spending patterns are stabilizing, and seasonality is back,” said Beth Phillips, Director at Co-op Solutions. “At the same time, consumers continue to feel the aggravation of supply chain demand and the long wait times for receiving goods like furniture, vehicles and home appliances. It will take time for those supply bottlenecks to be course corrected. We’re still battling the pandemic from that standpoint.”

#2: Credit Shows Strong Year-over-year Growth As Well

 With the exception of the Campers & Camping merchant category, consumers are spending more on credit now than a year ago. In certain categories, such as Gas, Grocery, Retail and Computers the growth is significant – in the high double – and even triple digits.

Home Improvement is one area where, although month-over-month and year-over-year increases have been comparatively modest compared with categories like Gas, Travel and Computers, Co-op’s SmartGrowth experts expect spending to take off this spring.

“Home prices are still very high, and people are getting priced right out of the market,” said John Patton, Senior Payments Advisor at Co-op solutions. “So rather than try to sell their current residence and move into a more expensive home they may not be able to afford – and potentially lose all the equity they’ve built up over the years in selling and buying costs – many homeowners are choosing to stay on the sidelines and focus on renovation and remodeling projects.”

#3: Credit Balances Are Beginning to Bud

 While the pandemic period was marked by relatively conservative spending and a decline in consumer debt, the last few months have seen consumers grow more at ease with once again carrying credit card balances.

According to Co-op credit union credit portfolio data, while balances declined slightly in November and December of 2021, since the turn of the year they have started to grow. January saw 1% balance growth, in February it was 3%, and March saw 5% growth year-over-year.

“As consumers begin to revert to pre-pandemic spending behaviors, they are becoming more comfortable carrying some revolving debt,” said Phillips.  “Our assumption is credit balances will continue to slowly build as we move through the year.”

What CUs Should Do Now

 With credit balances blooming and the Fed signaling increases to its benchmark lending rate, the Co-op SmartGrowth Team advise that it’s a great time to dust off balance transfer campaigns. Members are getting concerned with rising rates, so reward them with a low introductory rate balance transfer offer while reminding them of the credit union difference of competitive rates, low fees and exceptional service. A well-timed balance transfer campaign will help to grow a credit union’s portfolio balances and burnish its primary financial relationships.

As spending picks up across every major merchant category, rewards become increasingly important. The SmartGrowth Team also advise credit unions to make sure their loyalty rewards program is competitive with the leading programs. And, dig into cardholder data to make sure spending is being incented in the categories members prefer in order to stay top of wallet, and top of mind.

Month-Over-Month Category-Level Spending (Comparing March 2022 to February 2022)

Please note that the category spending below reflects month-over-month comparisons (rather than year-over-year) – i.e., compares March 2022 with February 2022, rather than March 2022 to March 2021.

Credit Debit
Count Amount Interchange Count Amount Interchange
Category Monthly Change Monthly Change Monthly Change Monthly Change Monthly Change Monthly Change
Amazon/Bookstores 13% 19% 17% 12% 16% 14%
Digital Goods 13% 12% 11% 11% 10% 11%
Dining and Entertainment 19% 21% 20% 18% 18% 18%
Education 10% 13% 13% 15% 19% 18%
Gas 17% 29% 25% 17% 27% 23%
Grocery 11% 12% 12% 11% 10% 11%
Lodging 31% 32% 31% 25% 29% 29%
Medical 20% 21% 20% 20% 22% 22%
Retail 16% 21% 21% 15% 20% 19%
Travel 27% 37% 36% 22% 33% 32%
Computers 16% 19% 20% 14% 18% 16%
Office 17% 17% 17% 16% 14% 16%
Campers & Camping 24% 28% 26% 30% 29% 36%
Home Improvement 26% 31% 31% 24% 31% 29%
Sport/Recreation 24% 27% 28% 23% 27% 27%

More information on the Co-op SmartGrowth Consulting Team can be found here.

About Co-op SolutionsCo-op Solutions is the market-leading financial technology platform whose mission is to connect credit unions to the technology, strategic partnership and scale they need to best serve their members now and into the future. Co-op partners with credit unions to unlock their potential so they can compete; does the hard work of innovation, creating a one-stop opportunity to help credit unions grow; and offers knowledge and expertise in a world where everything must be integrated. For more information, visit

Bill Prichard, APR
Director, Public Relations
Co-op Solutions
(909) 532-9416

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Changing the landscape for credit union women starts with you

By James Gilbert

I grew up in a home where my mom was the breadwinner. Not by choice, but by necessity. She rallied every day, working morning to night supporting 6 of us kids.

I grew an appreciation for her in ways that, as an adult, I am in awe of. My mom was a rock. She went through so much, and she exemplifies in my mind what a strong woman is all about. As a father myself, I now ask her all the time how she did it.

In many ways, she is one of my heroes. She told me stories of the difficulty she had climbing the ladder in her professional life as a woman. While she didn’t work in the credit union industry, it has helped me immensely to lead with passion and empathy, and to do my best to understand how many have paved the way for future women leaders. I am an advocate for helping to pave that path, but I am also a fan of it.

Now, in my adult years, I have the opportunity to help pave the path for my daughter and my wonderful wife. As a leader, I have the obligation—and I say that word on purpose because it shouldn’t be a choice to not do it—to advocate for the amazing women I have the blessing to serve on my team. No path is easy, but we need to do our part to make the path easier and equal for all.

As an executive, I have seen first-hand the discrepancies in pay, roles, lack of autonomy given, and more. It spans across so many industries. But now, more than ever, there is greater awareness around this problem. So how do we as leaders help pave this path?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Ensure you have diversity on your leadership team and board. It’s not a box to check; it’s for your benefit in every way. Some of the best people I know in marketing, business, and in this industry, are women. You need people that can respectfully challenge you and provide new thinking from their perspectives.
  • Provide recognition of the women in your life – both inside your job and outside. They probably don’t hear it very often – a common issue that exists all over this world.
  • Use social media to show your support but don’t let it just be words. Take action, create change, and show that your credit union cares.
  • Get behind the movements celebrating women and invest dollars to continue to support them.
  • Diversify your network. You need those different perspectives. Throw your biases out the window and listen.
  • Be genuine about your approach. No more of the fluffy narrative to your members that you’re an ally for women, then turning around and acting completely different internally. It’s time to get on board.
  • Participate in contests like WOW (Women On Work), a contest created to celebrate inspiring women in the credit union industry.

I have had the opportunity to meet some of the most incredible people in business, and so many of them are powerhouse women. People like Denise Wymore, who has focused on helping credit unions of all sizes stay relevant, Anne Legg who is helping CUs of all sizes tackle data strategy to help them grow, Nanci Wilson who is actively educating people across the country on celebrating differences, Whitney Anderson Harrell who is focused on financial inclusion and serving the underserved, and Stephanie Smith who is leading historical changes to this industry and helping to literally change history for women. The list could be pages long, but—ultimately—we all have to do our part.

Something I truly believe can help is taking a few minutes to nominate someone for the WOW Contest, which is 100% dedicated to recognizing the amazing women in this space. Now is your chance to make a difference, now is your chance to act.

Click HERE for more information and to nominate.

Join me and many advocates for this movement—no matter your gender or orientation—in celebrating CU women and getting their stories heard. These small steps can and will change the world.

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