Posted on Leave a comment

Co-op Solutions Sponsors 2022 Presidents Cup Golf Tourney, Donating All Benefits to CMN Hospitals

August 22, 2022 – #shadesupFOREkids Campaign Extended to Help CMN Hospitals as well as NCUF, Bringing Together Medical and Financial Health for Communities

Co-op Solutions has announced it is a sponsor of the prestigious 2022 Presidents Cup golf tournament, and is donating its allotment of tickets for credit union leaders and all benefits of sponsorship towards fundraising on behalf of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

“We at Co-op could think of no better way to celebrate our inaugural sponsorship of the Presidents Cup than to donate it in support of CMN Hospitals’ mission to save and improve the lives of as many children as possible,” said Samantha Paxson, Chief Experience Officer, Co-op, and a CMN Hospitals Board of Directors member. “Not only will fundraising be connected directly to the tournament, but we are also extending our #shadesupFOREkids campaign, which continues to benefit both CMN Hospitals and the National Credit Union Foundation by raising funds and awareness of the importance of financial and medical well-being.”

The Presidents Cup is a series of men’s golf matches between a team representing the United States and an international team, which this year will be held September 21-25 at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North California. Though some of the world’s top professional golfers participate, it is a charitable event with no prize money awarded. Since the event’s inception in 1994, more than $54.4 million has been raised for charity from event proceeds.

Fundraising to Help Sick Children Receive the Treatment They Need

Co-op is offering tickets to its credit union industry partners, clients and friends for a day on the course. Tickets are on a first-come, first-served basis, and each registrant may reserve up to two tickets. The recommended donation is the face value – or a portion of it – of each ticket, which ranges from $100 to $500. All proceeds will benefit CMN Hospitals via the industry’s charitable arm, Credit Unions for Kids.

The experience includes access to 1) 2022 Presidents Cup entrance ticket, 2) fully-hosted food and beverages at Presidents Cup event, 3) exclusive air-conditioned suite – the Co-op Solutions suite; and 4) private shuttle to and from Quail Hollow Club.

To learn more and register, go to Co-op’s event page here.

“This donation by Co-op is a tremendous boost for Credit Unions for Kids fundraising on behalf of CMN Hospitals,” said Nick Coleman, Director, National Strategic Partners for CMN Hospitals. “The credit union industry is the fifth-largest contributor to our charity, helping us provide 32 million treatments each year through 170 member hospitals in the United States and Canada. Credit Unions for Kids is a critical partner in our local hospital fundraising and it’s a relationship we hope will flourish throughout the country to bring needed care to families in our communities.”

#shadesupFOREkids Taking Place in Run-up to Presidents Cup

In advance of the event, Co-op is extending its #shadesupFOREkids initiative, with proceeds going equally to CMN Hospitals and the NCUF’s Financial Well-being for All. Anyone can participate and it’s easy:

Co-op encourages everyone in the credit union industry to take selfies on-board their airline flights with the window shade up. Then, post the photo on individual social media accounts using the hashtag #shadesupFOREkids. Co-op will make a $10 donation for every selfie posted with the hashtag, up to $10,000.

“Co-op has been a supporter of Credit Unions for Kids since its founding in 1996 to raise funds for the industry’s charity of choice, CMN Hospitals,” said Todd Clark, President/CEO of Co-op. “Our Co-op Miracle Match program was created in 2009 to help credit unions maximize the funds they raise in the great effort of helping children receive the care they need regardless of ability to pay, further demonstrating the credit union mission of people helping people. We want to encourage more credit unions across the country to participate in fundraising, which is why we wanted to offer up our sponsorship.”

To learn more and register for the event, please visit the events page here.

About Co-op Solutions

Co-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

Posted on Leave a comment

July Spending Trends: Spending Shifts as Rates Rise

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

August 16, 2022 – The Fed is doing all it can.

Following another strong jobs report for July, the Federal Reserve is committed to staying on its path of raising rates, in an effort to tamp down inflation that remains at 40-year highs.

The U.S. added 528,000 new jobs in July, keeping unemployment at a low 3.5% rate. That is certainly good news for workers, but the cost of living keeps rising as U.S. consumers deal with annualized inflation hovering around 9%. The Federal Reserve raised the Fed Funds rate another 75 basis points at its July 27 meeting, and it is almost assured of doing so again at its next meeting in September.

Co-op’s July credit union card portfolio data exploited credit’s growth year-over-year at a 42.8% increase in purchase counts, while debit remained flat year-over-year at a mere 1.6% increase. Credit’s growth highlights the stark reality that consumers’ spending habits have shifted, with most categories showing modest to significant increases. Main categories in credit reflecting this consumer spending shift are computers, gas, grocery, retail, primarily discount stores, medical and travel.

Month over month results from June 2022 to July 2022 across most categories in both credit and debit showed very little change. However, some exceptions included strong growth in Campers and Camping, Gambling and Entertainment, and Sports and Recreation, with declines in Education, Home Improvement, Auto Rental, Airline, Medical and Political Giving.

Here are some of the key spending trends Co-op’s SmartGrowth team are watching closely this month:

#1: Staycations are here to stay

According to Co-op’s month-over-month credit union portfolio data for July, overall travel spending was up modestly at just over 3% in debit and credit. But a deeper look into the data shows that Airline and Auto Rental spend were down for the month. Meanwhile, the Camping and Campers category showed strong double-digit increases in both debit and credit for the month, the largest among any major classification code. Spend at Golf Courses was also up by around 9% for the month. These trends indicate that in light of rising inflation, consumers continue to stay close to home, forgoing longer vacations to cross-country and international destinations.

Despite these weaker recent trends, the Travel category is still up by 59% year over year in credit and 25% in debit with largest increases occurring in airlines at 55% increase in credit and 14% increase in debit, evidence that a resilient public has ventured out following the darkest days of the pandemic.

people are headed to the golf course and campsite due to the pandemic-induced changes in habits over the past three years,” said John Patton, Co-op Senior Payments Advisor. “These experiences represent freedom, but with a dose of budget consciousness. We see spending in travel categories like airline and lodging up significantly year over-year, but the staycation habits developed over the past few years remain strong.”

#2: Furniture Spending Jumps Up as Supply Worries Ease

 Although supply chain issues have been a constant source of frustration for consumers and retailers alike over the past year, they are finally beginning to ease, as July saw a marked shift in spending in the Furniture category. Following double-digit declines in June, spending grew by nearly 8% in both debit and credit in July, in a possible nod to back-to-school spending as retailers tightened their focus on capturing these transactions. Another category to come out ahead with back-to-school mindsets taking hold were Computers with a modest increase in July from the prior month, after several months of depressed spending.

These increases fly in the face of continued high inflation, perhaps indicating that much of this spend is occurring at discount retailers and furniture liquidators. As reported previously, Walmart and Target recently offloaded an oversupply of appliances, furniture and apparel to liquidators.

Discount Stores also saw a modest uptick in spend in July, as rising costs and fears of recession are driving more consumers to these less-expensive outlets.

#3: Home Improvement Off from Spring

 The Home Improvement category has shown a gradual month-over-month increase over the last quarter. However, since June, spend in this category has started to decline. This is to be expected, as home improvement spending is highly seasonal, and consumers typically do most of their renovation projects in the winter and spring. These declines also coincide with the increase in furniture spend, as furnishing new spaces is typically the last step in a major renovation project.

“Home improvement has a seasonality to it,” said Patton. “As kids are getting ready to go back to school, their parents are reprioritizing their budgets from home improvement over to books, supplies and other necessities.”

Month-Over-Month Category-Level Spending (Comparing July 2022 to June 2022)

Please note that the category spending below reflects year-over-year (% Difference from 2021 vs. 2022 YoY August – July) in the first two columns, and month-over-month comparisons in the last two columns.

 Debit YoY % Difference
2021 v 2022 YoY (Aug – July)
Credit YoY % Difference
2021 v 2022 YoY (Aug – July)
Debit MoM % Difference
June ‘22 to July ‘22
Credit MoM % Difference


June ‘22 to July ‘22

Campers & Camping-13.6%3.9%26.7%19.9%
Digital Goods29.0%32.9%4.0%3.9%
Dining & Entertainment7.0%29.1%3.4%3.5%
Home Improvement-14.2%26.4%-3.5%-4.5%
Auto Dealers/Services/Parts-5.1%24.0%1.8%-1.5%
Cable, Satellite, and Other21.4%43.3%2.6%4.3%
Subscription services-23.6%1.4%1.4%3.0%
Department Stores-1.3%27.9%3.1%4.5%
Discount Stores11.5%137.4%2.8%4.2%
Specialty Retail-8.0%10.7%3.9%3.7%
Florists, antiques, jewelers, cigars, stamps, etc.-8.0%10.7%3.9%3.7%
Golf courses-10.4%1.8%8.9%9.1%
Auto Rental-22.4%7.3%-4.4%-1.6%
Other Travel (railroad, taxi, cruise lines, toll fees, etc.)31.2%68.1%4.7%5.6%
Grand Total1.6%42.8%3.6%3.4%

What Credit Unions Should Do Now

 As rates rise, it’s a great time for credit unions to dust off their balance transfer campaigns. Members are starting to feel the effects of rising rates on their wallets, so reward cardholders and entice non-cardholders to open a card with a low-rate balance transfer offer. According to Nerd Wallet’s 2022 card program trends, 0% APR offers doubled from Q42020 to Q3 2021, so a competitive offer will be crucial for success. In addition to a compelling offer, members should be reminded 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 their primary financial relationships.

As spending picks up going into the fall Back to School season, rewards become increasingly important. Make sure to offer a compelling loyalty rewards program to compete with the leading programs on the market and to keep cards top of wallet.

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

About Co-op Solutions

Co-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

Posted on Leave a comment

CUSOs Are our Best Choice for a Strategic Partnership

August 5, 2022 – A CEOs worst nightmare; you wake up one morning and find out that your core processor, your loan origination system, home banking or mobile provider has been sold to a private equity firm, a huge national conglomerate or worse yet a market competitor.  Of course, a change like that does happen over night but in any case you’ve now gone from a client or customer that had some clout or the name and phone numbers of the Company CEO or top management to the proverbial gnat on the elephant’s ass.

How many times has it happened over the years where you have little or no influence over who is handling your credit unions most critical data or how the tool set works that supports your primary sources of revenue and product.  I still cringe remembering the credit unions who had sold their credit card portfolios to MBNA in 2006 just months before reading in the Wall Street Journal or seeing on CNBC that their members would soon be getting new plastics with the Bank of America logo after that bank purchased MBNA.  There was a time, because of economies of scale, limited investment capital and regulatory barriers that credit unions had to depend on third party vendors that limited and constrained the control we had over our own destiny.

My 47 years in credit unions have taught me that the strategic decision to exercise ownership or partnership with a collaborative credit union CUSO is most critical when deciding who will be handling our most valuable assets and product delivery systems.  I remember when we depended on a correspondent bank relationship for clearing our share drafts, data processing and cash for our teller drawers.  It was our limitations of scale that forced our co-operative strategy to build the earliest CUSOs to provide access to the major credit card brands

It doesn’t make much difference who has the contract to cut the grass in the summer or plow the parking lots in the winter, but it sure does when you decide who will have significant control over your data base (think core processor or data warehouse) or provide the tools that generate a significant percentage of your revenue like your lending portfolio or your off balance sheet member brokerage or investment services.

The barriers of the past to controlling the technology environment we operate under, the delivery channels we utilize or the brands we introduce our members to are no longer the challenge.  We have the scale, we have the investment capital, we have the consumer brand recognition and we have much more regulatory freedom that allows us to finally differentiate ourselves in a market that demands the uniqueness that our philosophy and our cooperative business model provides.

The collaborative CUSO model maximizes our ability to make the investment in those key strategic business relationships I mention. All things being equal, service, support, pricing and product design why would a credit union look past the opportunity OWN the relationships it most depends on?  Why would you let your data reside in the hands of others outside of our industry?  Why would you let your strategic revenue products be subject to the winds of corporate merger, private sale or public offering?

Our credit unions are financially stronger than ever and our capacity for capital investment is significant.  Our members are best served when we make decisions to work and build together with others who share our common values.  INVESTIGATE initially for your strategic partners among the hundreds of CUSOs. INVEST in and OWN those CUSOs if they fulfill the strategic needs of your members.  Make our network of credit unions and CUSOS work for the benefit of your members and the long-term vitality of our cooperatives.


Vic Pantea

Manager of Marketplace Alliances


Posted on Leave a comment

evolve FCU Moves to Enhance Efficiency, Reduce Costs in Expanded Partnership with Co-op Solutions

Credit Union Adds Co-op Signature Debit and In-House Credit Processing   

August 2, 2022 – For El Paso, Texas-based evolve FCU, the  decision to expand its partnership with Co-op Solutions is the essence of simplicity.

evolve FCU added Signature Debit and In-House Credit processing services from Co-op (, along with the fintech’s Insights Center self-service business intelligence and reporting platform for analysis of portfolio data. The reason? “This is simple: Greater efficiency and reduced costs,” said Ken Walters, President/CEO of evolve FCU. “When those two things are combined we free up staff, reduce operating expenses and improve the bottom line.”

A long-standing Co-op client, Walters said “evolve FCU is utilizing technology to become more efficient in pursuing our goal of people helping people. With this new agreement, we are seeking a faster, more convenient experience for both our cardholders and our evolve FCU team with debit and credit processing. Additional services from Co-op will help us with a quicker turnaround on plastic card development.”

Awarding its Signature Debit and In-House Credit business to Co-op entailed changing transaction processing providers. “Since we have been a part of Co-op for several years, we know what to expect – great service, and that is what motivated us to undertake this project,” said Walters. “When you move from one processor to another it is not always an easy transition, but after working with Co-op we knew that this was going to be a smart economic move for us.”

The credit union opened its doors in 1936 as El Paso Employees FCU before rebranding as evolve FCU in 2012. Today, evolve FCU ( has more than 18,000 members and $363 million in assets. “evolve FCU is turning back the clock to when co-ops were true co-ops,” said Walters. “We are proud of the fact that we have given back more than $12 million to our members since 2015 in the form of patronage dividends. This is another reason why it is incumbent upon us to operate efficiently and cost-effectively.”

Prior to the agreement, evolve FCU was already a participant in the nationwide Co-op ATM and Co-op Shared Branch networks. Co-op Debit provides a single platform for PIN and Signature processing to streamline transaction management as well as helping to prevent and manage fraud with minimal disruption to both member and institution. Co-op In-House Credit processing incorporates services such as card fulfillment, fraud prevention, loyalty programs and business intelligence.

“Along with its name change in 2012, evolve FCU adopted a truly progressive approach to interacting with the modern member,” said Matt Kardell, Chief Revenue Officer, Co-op. “Their decision to work with us to meet their debit and credit processing needs is an entry point to the entire ecosystem of Co-op advanced payments technology. We look forward to helping them serve their members even more holistically in the future.”

For more information on the Co-op ecosystem of financial technology products and services visit

About Co-op Solutions

Co-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

Posted on Leave a comment

NACUSO Partner Spotlight: Mike Haggerty

PART ONE: Life Story and Experiences


What’s your current position and can you give us a brief overview of what it is you do in your work?

I serve as President/Chief Operating Officer of CommunityAmerica CUSO One, LLC (CUSO One), and President of Copper Financial (CuFi). CUSO One is a wholly-owned subsidiary of CommunityAmerica Credit Union, providing white-labeled, full service financial, wealth, and mortgage services to credit unions across the nation and members all over the world. CUSO One also serves as the innovation lab for CommunityAmerica, a member centric team developing products and solutions to ease member pain points enabling their path to financial peace of mind.


What would you say most motivates you to do what you do? What are you most excited or passionate about?

The credit union mantra of “people helping people” motivates me. I grew up 1 of 10 kids, and we were dirt poor. We had an amazing family, but financially we obviously weren’t in a good position, so I love that credit unions really focus on serving the underserved. Helping those who have similar upbringings or chapters in their lives that are similar to mine is something I’m passionate about.


We want to hear the story of how you came to work with credit unions. What attracted you to work for CommunityAmerica CUSO One, LLC (CUSO One) and Copper Financial (CuFi)?

My experience with credit unions dates to right before college. Missouri Central Credit Union hired me in the summer after I graduated high school as a teller, and I sort of became a jack of all trades. One thing that was really amazing about it was that any time I had a week or so off, they would let me come back in and get some hours. Since I paid for college 100% out of my own pocket, this job helped me focus on school while I was at school, and when I had time, pick up hours to help me offset the costs of school. It was a terrific experience and I worked with a lot of great people. Even though it was a smaller credit union, the mission was aligned with those of larger credit unions, like CommunityAmerica.

Later, I was in Wealth Management at a firm that was making headlines for all the wrong reasons. I ultimately loved what I was doing, which was helping people get on a path to financial peace of mind, but not who I was doing it for. So, I got connected with CommunityAmerica, who was looking to bring their investment program in-house and hire advisors (these had been previously fully outsourced). I talked to the person who was responsible for hiring the advisors and starting the program. It served a multitude of my desires at the time which was to continue to practice financial planning but to do so away from the umbrella of a large multinational organization, “focus on profits not people” stuff. Plus, the opportunity to get to work with all of the members.


Now if we can go even further back, where did you grow up and what was it like living there? Where did you go to school?

I grew up in Independence, Missouri in a small, 3-bedroom house, with 12 people, and probably 47 animals (*laughs*). My mom was a huge animal lover and I’m pretty sure every stray knew how to get to our house. Where we lacked in money, possessions, and belongings, we made up for in love, togetherness, and our family bond. At the time you wish you had this or that, but in hindsight I wouldn’t change a thing about how I grew up.

I went to Catholic schools all growing up and eventually ended up at the University of Missouri.


Who were your mentors along the way? People who deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in and what you’re committed to in your work and life? Tell us about them.

I had a few mentors along the way, and it starts with my parents. They armed me with a moral compass, first and foremost.

Later, I was a kid, 24 years old, at Smith Barney in a training program where the average age of a new wealth advisor was 39. A guy named Jerry Kroenig gave me a shot. We had similar backgrounds, but he saw something in me and really helped groom me through the initial stages of financial planning.

Now, Mike Patrick in the credit union space, gave me a shot to go from an advisor to a leader and program manager of the investment program. He’s served in the mentorship capacity ever since.


Finally, can you share something interesting about you that would surprise our readers? It can be anything, a hobby, an adventure, sports, the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you?

Personally, I’m not much of a golfer, but the second time I ever went out playing, I hit a hole-in-one. I was with a friend and knew I hit it up this hill pretty well, but when we got to the green we couldn’t find it. We looked all over for it and finally my friend said, “Maybe we should look in the hole?” And wouldn’t you know, there it was! (*laughs*)



PART TWO: The Business Story


Tell us the story of how your CUSO/company was created – the early days. Tell us about some of the memorable characters in the history, some that brought your story color, drama, comedy, conflict?

We originally started the investment CUSO individually and later moved into the credit union in 2004. We ultimately moved it back in 2014 when we started our own broker/RIA. People who are still involved with the credit union were big backers from the beginning including Dennis Pierce, Jeff Kline, and CommunityAmerica CEO Lisa Ginter.


What were the key relationships that mattered most? What were the key sources of support or resistance you encountered?

Early on, from the top/down we had support, support from the CEO and even to the branches and contact center. This was critical to me because if you look at just the investment CUSO alone, it helped pave the way for our tremendous success. We got siloed sideways for a period of time, but since Lisa has been CEO, Tim Saracini as board, and me as the leader of the CUSO and aggregate, we’ve done a really nice job of breaking down those silos.

I truly believe you have to view every offering through the lens of the member – it doesn’t matter if it’s offered through the credit union, CUSO, whatever – you have to figure out what’s best for the member. The organizational structure is a reflection of that because we now have a member-first focus and it’s not just what you say but what you do.


What have been the greatest successes in your opinion?

For us, our CUSO isn’t just about how we can support CommunityAmerica members, but how can we help the industry as a whole. We have a Mortgage CUSO that helps multiple loaners, a Wealth Management CUSO which brings a different viewpoint of offering investments to members by breaking down the barriers to spending – something I don’t think has been done really anywhere else in this space. And we’ve created the Innovation Lab which has created award-winning tools to help members and non-members in their financial journeys. Even our Insurance Agency, which is in its infancy, has been extremely well adopted by member base, especially in comparison with other agencies at the same stage.



PART THREE: Reflections and Lessons


If you could start your CUSO/company all over again, would you do anything differently? Why and what would you do?

Even though it wasn’t the start, I think the previously mentioned “silo approach” is a portion in our CUSO history that I would change. I think if we had our shared servicing model that we have today we would be so much further ahead of where we already are.


Finally, when you think of the future for credit unions, what gives you hope and what makes you concerned?

I’ve heard it said previously that “it’s no longer about just leaving your mark by writing a check.” These younger generations want to roll up their sleeves and make an impact that goes far beyond financial resources. That’s exactly what credit unions are all about. It’s not necessarily about profits, it’s about the impact we make on the communities we serve. I think there’s great alignments with the shifts you’re seeing, and culturally what credit unions have always been about. I think this will present a terrific opportunity for credit unions going forward.

I think that CUSOs no longer being our best kept secret is our biggest concern.  Credit Unions can’t do it all on our in own order to compete with much larger institutions. The best way to achieve the cooperative model is through CUSOs. I also think we’re facing competition from the non-traditional competitors that are bringing new schemes to the table. Regulations can tend to be reactive rather than proactive so making sure both traditional and non-traditional financial institutions are playing by the same rules will be important going forward.