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GECU Expands partnership with CO-OP Financial Services to further enhance member experience, operational efficiencies

February 22, 2022 – GECU (www.gecu.com) has renewed and expanded its partnership with
CO-OP Financial Services, adding the CO-OP Developer Portal, an Application Program Interface
management system that houses the fintech’s APIs in a single, digital library.

The El Paso, Texas-based credit union utilizes CO-OP to fully support its debit and credit card programs. CO-
OP also provides continuous support to the GECU Contact Center for authorization services, card activation,
lost or stolen card reporting and transaction history details. In addition, CO-OP helps the credit union with
its fraud detection and case management for fraud and disputes. Finally, GECU is a participant in the 30,000-
strong nationwide CO-OP ATM network.

GECU is excited to renew all of these CO-OP services and also add the Developer Portal to further enhance
member experience and find operational efficiencies,” said Fernando Ortega, SVP/Chief Information Officer
for the credit union. “GECU aims to continue to offer a wide variety of services and products that provide
convenient, fast and secure options for debit and credit cards. CO-OP helps GECU be at the top-of-wallet
with our members.”

CO-OP Developer Portal makes technical integration of new services an easier process for credit unions. The
Developer Portal provides a modern, scalable architecture that breaks APIs into smaller, reusable services
that can be assembled to quickly add features and functionality into credit unions’ own digital applications.
GECU chose to renew with CO-OP because we value the relationship that we have fostered over the past
several years,” said Ortega. “The service that CO-OP provides to GECU and their array of products and
services allow us to further enhance the relationship with our members. The Developer Portal will enable us
to quickly deliver new functions and features to meet our members’ expectations. GECU hopes to continue
to enhance our collaboration with CO-OP to navigate the fast, ongoing environmental changes and member
expectations. It is important to GECU that we leverage the right partner to continue providing a high level of
service and experience to our membership now and into the future.”

Founded in 1932, GECU today has 414,477 members, 30 branches in El Paso, Hudspeth and Dona Ana
counties, and more than $3.7 billion in assets. “We are proud to renew our relationship with GECU and the addition of CO-OP Developer Portal will help GECU speed delivery time of new product features and functions to their members,” said Matt Kardell, Chief Revenue Officer for CO-OP. “GECU is clearly dedicated to enabling their members to interact with their credit union whenever, however and wherever they choose. CO-OP provides a complete digital payments ecosystem that helps credit unions facilitate the daily lifestyle moments of members.”
For more information on CO-OP Financial Services, visit www.coop.org.

About CO-OP Financial Services
CO-OP Financial Services is a payments and financial technology company whose mission is ensuring the
success of the credit union movement. CO-OP payments solutions, engagement services and strategic
counsel help credit unions optimize member experiences to consistently provide seamless, personalized
multi-channel offerings, while delivering secure, sophisticated fraud mitigation service. For more
information, visit www.coop.org.

Contact:

Bill Prichard, APR
Director, Public Relations
CO-OP Financial Services
(909) 532-9416
Bill.Prichard@coop.org

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January Spending Trends: Ready to Launch

CO-OP Payments Trends Report (Spending Data from January 1-31)

February 16, 2022– With 2021 in the rear-view mirror and the holiday shopping season behind them, consumers reset their spending behaviors for the new year ahead. Although the rapid rise in omicron cases – which hit a peak in mid-January – raised concerns and dampened spending, the variant’s just-as-rapid fall is generating optimism for a return to normal spending patterns over the coming months in key industries (like travel) that have yet to bounce back.

On the economic front, mostly positive news has greeted the new year. According to data released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the U.S. economy grew by 5.7% in 2021, a strong rebound from 2020 and the highest rate of growth since 1984. The good news continued in January, with surprisingly strong job growth of 467,000 in nonfarm payrolls for the month. Unemployment stayed roughly unchanged at 4.0%.

Of course, the flip side of this coin is inflation, and January saw a higher-than-expected surge in consumer prices, raising the annual inflation rate to 7.5%, the highest in four decades. The Fed has signaled it will begin raising rates in March to counteract these inflationary pressures.

CO-OP’s member credit union payment portfolio data showed month-over-month declines across most major merchant categories in both debit and credit. This was expected, and typical for the post-holiday period. In credit, double-digit decreases in count and amount were seen in the Amazon/Bookstores, Grocery, Retail, Computers, Office, Home Improvement and Sports/Recreation categories. Only Education and Camping saw increases over December.

In debit, the story was much the same, with the notable exceptions of the Lodging, Medical and Travel categories, all of which showed double-digit growth in amount.

Here are some of the key spending trends the CO-OP SmartGrowth Consulting Team are currently watching:

#1: Omicron Had A Sharp, But Temporary Impact

According to the Centers for Disease Control, COVID-19 cases hit their peak on January 14. Since then, the 7-day moving average of daily cases has dropped precipitously.

The peak in cases coincided with the post-holiday shopping period, which traditionally shows much lower spending volumes than seen in the fourth quarter of the year. This year was no different, with month over month counts in the Retail category dropping by 35% in both debit and credit in January.

#2: Credit Has Outpaced Debit For the Past Year

Looking back to January 2021, it is remarkable how strongly credit has rebounded across most major spending categories.

For example, Dining & Entertainment was up by 35% in count and 45% in amount in January 2022 as compared with January 2021. Gas was up by 103% and 126%, respectively. Grocery increased by 85% and 42%, and Retail by 4% in count and 44% in amount.

The story for debit is a bit different. Although Dining & Entertainment was up by 6% in count and 23% in amount, and Gas grew by 22% in amount, it was actually down year over year in several categories including Grocery, Retail and Computers.

“Overall, if you look at year over year in credit, we are much better off now than we were last January before vaccines were readily available, in spite of the omicron variant,” said John Patton, CO-OP Senior Payments Advisor.

#3: Consumer Spending Is Poised For A Rebound

The biggest takeaway from January data is that despite the pause triggered by the omicron variant, consumers are gearing up to spend again. Federal and state officials have been refocusing the narrative from “pandemic” to “endemic,” with an underlying message that it is time for society to begin living with the virus. Consumers, meanwhile, are energized to get back to dining out, attending events and returning to “normalcy.”

“The message is that consumers are ready to go and ready to spend again,” said Patton. “Unemployment is low, and consumers still have a lot of stimulus funds in their checking accounts. Once this latest variant recedes, we’re looking at a big resurgence later in the spring.”

Month-Over-Month Category-Level Spending (Comparing January 2022 to December 2021)

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

  Credit Debit
  Count Amount Interchange Count Amount Interchange
Category Monthly Change Monthly Change Monthly Change Monthly Change Monthly Change Monthly Change
Amazon/Bookstores -27% -36% -33% -24% -23% -27%
Digital Goods -3% -1% -3% -4% -1% -3%
Dining and Entertainment -7% -9% -10% -6% 6% -5%
Education 17% 41% 34% 12% 39% 22%
Gas -8% -8% -8% -7% 3% -7%
Grocery -12% -19% -19% -11% -8% -12%
Lodging -5% -1% 0% 1% 30% 7%
Medical -6% -4% -4% -5% 11% -3%
Retail -35% -42% -41% -35% -31% -39%
Travel -13% -4% -4% -11% 12% -6%
Computers -22% -31% -30% -28% -29% -32%
Office -13% -12% -11% -16% -15% -19%
Campers & Camping 1% 8% 10% -1% 10% 3%
Home Improvement -16% -16% -15% -15% -4% -16%
Sport/Recreation -39% -40% -40% -38% -26% -40%

More information on the CO-OP SmartGrowth Consulting Team can be found here.

About CO-OP Financial Services

CO-OP Financial Services is a payments and financial technology company whose mission is ensuring the success of the credit union movement. CO-OP payments solutions, engagement services and strategic counsel help credit unions optimize member experiences to consistently provide seamless, personalized multi-channel offerings, while delivering secure, sophisticated fraud mitigation service. For more information, visit www.coop.org.

Contact:

Bill Prichard, APR, Director, Public Relations
CO-OP Financial Services
(909) 532-9416
Bill.prichard@coop.org

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New offering from Trellance addresses critical credit union talent gaps

Professional Staffing Services Will Help Credit Unions Meet Growing Demands for Skilled Technologists

February 16, 2022 – With talent shortages at the highest levels in decades, credit unions across the country are struggling to fill key technology and analytics positions. Professional Staffing services from Trellance aim to close the gap by connecting credit unions with skilled talent using the more cost-effective and flexible “as-a-service” model.

Trellance will offer credit unions access to talent in skills areas that include data science, software and data management technologies, user experience, and cloud migration. President and CEO Tom Davis said credit unions need ample support in these areas to stay competitive. 

“Credit unions face stiff competition from new tech-first financial firms who are working aggressively to capture market share from traditional financial services, and too many CUs are losing the battle,” he said. “In this dynamic environment, they need advanced tech practitioners to become more agile in adopting new technology and responding to trends as they emerge. It can be challenging to bring these professionals in-house as full-time employees.”

As a company wholly-owned by credit unions with decades of industry expertise, Davis said Trellance is uniquely positioned to craft a talent offering that addresses pressing industry needs. These include:

  • Hiring, onboarding, and retaining talent with advanced technology skills
  • Managing costs associated with the need for larger, more highly skilled technology departments
  • Shortening go-to-market timelines for technology projects
  • Effectively using and maximizing existing technology investments
  • Rethinking and continually iterating the online experience for members

Trellance expects high demand for its talent services and is significantly expanding its own staff to support the offering. The company is sourcing top technology talent both in the U.S. and around the globe and will provide services through customized engagement models. It has already begun to successfully pilot the service with credit unions, including Credit Union of Colorado.

“Augmenting our team with experienced tech professionals from Trellance allowed us to seamlessly complete the development of new tools, even when faced with a staff shortage,” said Terry Leis, President and CEO of Credit Union of Colorado. “We see it as another avenue that can help us more nimbly seize opportunities and respond to changes with greater ease.”

About Trellance

Trellance is a leading provider of business analytics and technology consulting for credit unions, helping them meet the financial needs of todays digital consumer. With a comprehensive suite of data science solutions, professional staffing and professional services, the Trellance team ensures credit unions increase efficiency, manage risk, and improve member experience. As credit unions’ tech partner, Trellance brings them to the next frontiers of fintech, filled with powerful tools such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. Data In. Insights out. Learn more at Trellance.com.

Media Contact:
Maren Bradley
Marketing Communications Manager
mbradley@trellance.com

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PSCU Payments Index – February 2022 Edition

February 16, 2022 – Today, PSCU – the nation’s premier payments credit union service organization (CUSO) – published the February edition of the PSCU Payments Indexthe goal of which is to provide information and insights to help financial institutions make informed, strategic decisions on the road ahead.

In this month’s iteration, we look at several macroeconomic indicators affecting consumer preferences and behaviors, including the Omicron variant and unemployment rate, among other factors. The Consumer Confidence Index decreased in January, impacted by challenges from rising prices and the ongoing pandemic, while supply chain disruptions and market shortages are now expected to continue through 2022. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 0.6% in January, to 7.5% – its highest point since February 1982 – according to data released by the Labor Department on Feb. 10. And, despite the continued pandemic-related headwinds, consumer spending remained strong throughout the month of January. This month, we present a Deep Dive into Food – the combined Grocery and Restaurant sectors.

“Entering 2022, the evolving path of the pandemic remains evident,” said Norm Patrick, vice president, Advisors Plus Consulting at PSCU. “While consumer confidence dipped in January for the first time since before the holiday shopping season, consumer spending remains very strong. Credit card purchases outpaced debit once again, with the Travel and Entertainment sectors reporting the highest overall growth in consumer spend. As we look at Food purchases in this month’s Deep Dive, the total spend has grown – in part due to rising prices and continued bulk buying – but the spend mix continues to shift, falling back to more of a pre-pandemic pattern.”

A sampling of key takeaways from the February report includes:

  • Consumer spending was again very strong for both credit and debit purchases in January, with growth in credit continuing to outpace debit. Consumers eager to return to pre-pandemic habits posted strong spending growth in the Travel and Entertainment sectors. Year-over-year growth in debit purchases was softened by the record debit growth at this time last year, fueled by federal government stimulus disbursements in Dec. 2020 and Jan. 2021.
  • The average credit card balance for January 2022 was $2,736 – marking the first time since the start of 2019 that the year-over-year average credit card balance has not dropped.
  • Growth in CNP purchases within the Food sectors, this month’s Deep Dive topic, has accelerated compared to pre-pandemic annual results, with added growth when comparing 2021 to 2020 in the Restaurant categories. Consumer acceptance of online food purchases and in-person pickup or delivery has become more mainstream.
  • The CPI-U for January increased to 7.5%, the highest point since February 1982. The pace of increase for January was the same as December’s increase of 0.6%. Food prices rose 7% with Restaurants, Fast Food and grocery stores all contributing to the increases. Interest rate hikes are expected to begin in March.
  • Stronger-than-expected job growth was recorded for January, while the unemployment rate stayed relatively flat from December at 4%.

The full report is available for download here or can be shared as a PDF upon request. Additionally, feel free to subscribe here to receive updates when the PSCU Payments Index is published each month.

Contact:

Peyton Burgess
On behalf of PSCU
919-815-2915

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Kelly Mendenhall and Joy Porter Promoted to Senior Vice Presidents at CO-OP Financial Services

Promotions Reflect Their Own High Performance and Rapid Growth of the Company

 February 1, 2022 – CO-OP Financial Services has promoted Kelly Mendenhall and Joy Porter to Senior Vice President, reflecting their own high performance in the Product and People (Human Resources) functions, respectively, and the continuing rapid growth of the company.

“In the past five years, CO-OP has launched more than 150 new products,” said Todd Clark, President/CEO. “This has certainly meant a monumental effort by our Product team, and also by Human Resources, to find and keep the talent we need to maintain this level of performance. The work of Kelly and Joy has helped us meet our goals and fuel the innovation needed for the future.”

Kelly Mendenhall is promoted to SVP, Innovation, Product Office, reporting to Bruce Dragt, Chief Product Officer. Mendenhall joined CO-OP in April 2017 with the merger of CO-OP and TMG, having joined that organization exactly one year earlier. Mendenhall is responsible for the PDLC (Product Development Life Cycle) process, and the process for defining the CO-OP roadmap. He is also responsible for innovation activities like “Innovation Day” and providing a clear direction so that innovation processes result in products that better serve the company’s credit union clients and their members.

Joy Porter is promoted to SVP, Total Rewards and People Operations, reporting to Cheryl Middleton Jones, Chief People Officer. Porter joined CO-OP in April 2019, and during her tenure has led the effort to improve the company’s compensation and benefits offerings. Additionally, she has implemented new work/life programs such as updated maternal, parental, family care and adoption leave programs. Porter is also responsible for HR Operations and the HRIS system, moving to one functional and self-service platform for all HR functions across the business.

During 2021, CO-OP invested $50 million in its product roadmap to ensure clients remain competitive. New products include Digital Card Issuance, expansion of the CO-OP Springboard card servicing application and the introduction of CO-OP Resolution Center, the company’s proprietary new disputes and chargebacks processing platform, designed with credit union input. In addition, CO-OP launched COOPER Fraud Score, a machine learning tool to detect, prevent and mitigate fraud.

Also in 2021, CO-OP was one of only three organizations in the credit union industry to be recognized as one of “2021 Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces” by Achievers, a provider of employee voice and recognition solutions. CO-OP’s commitment to four core values – work as partners, communicate openly and honestly, demonstrate excellence, champion change – contributed to the recognition. Additionally, CO-OP’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council launched a series of Engagement Resource Groups, including Women in Technology, Pride Alliance and Black Financial Technology Professionals.

More information about CO-OP Financial Services can be found by visiting www.coop.org.

About CO-OP Financial ServicesCO-OP Financial Services is a payments and financial technology company whose mission is ensuring the success of the credit union movement. CO-OP payments solutions, engagement services and strategic counsel help credit unions optimize member experiences to consistently provide seamless, personalized multi-channel offerings, while delivering secure, sophisticated fraud mitigation service. For more information, visit www.coop.org.

Contact:

Bill Prichard, APR, Director, Public Relations

CO-OP Financial Services

(909) 532-9416

Bill.Prichard@coop.org