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No Other Card Services Application Offers Springboard’s Level of Seamless Access to Cardholder Accounts

For Release on November 30, 2021: 

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, California – CO-OP Financial Services is enhancing CO-OP Springboard, the credit union payments fintech’s proprietary card servicing application. Credit union card issuers can now service a more extensive range of member card accounts, including debit, credit and digital wallet, all from one application, establishing a new benchmark for the industry.

CO-OP Springboard is the only application of its kind available to credit unions. The technology brings together credit and debit account servicing across multiple processing platforms. From a single screen, a credit union employee or CO-OP Contact Center agent can quickly answer inbound inquiries, assisting members in real-time on a variety of fronts. Springboard encapsulates the benefits of CO-OP’s payments technology ecosystem, consolidating credit union work streams and processes into one application interface.

“Payments are the path to primary financial relationships,” said Bruce Dragt, Chief Product Officer for CO-OP. “That means every moment, every touchpoint across the payments experience must be stellar. The need for exceptional experiences certainly extends to cardholder service, which is more critical than ever before given the rise of digital transactions. E-commerce is new for many members. As convenient as they are, transactions from embedded payments, order-ahead apps and buy-now buttons generate questions. Members want fast, clear answers and, where necessary, fast, clear remedies.”

CO-OP’s vision for Springboard is for the application to serve as a point of entry into the powerful payments technology ecosystem the company has been building since 2016. According to Dragt, the approach to Springboard has been iterative and user-focused from the time the technology was acquired in 2017 alongside CO-OP’s merger with longtime strategic partner, TMG.

CO-OP Springboard has since been completely rebuilt on a cloud-native architecture, which enables accelerated development and simple pivots when market realities necessitate fast changes. Each new feature is based on deep user research, designed to address a specific member or credit union problem or opportunity.

“No other payments processor enables this level of seamless servicing on credit, debit and connected digital accounts from a single hub,” said Dragt. “CO-OP’s Co-Creation Council members, who collaborate closely with us to evolve Springboard, confirm our vision that friction-free access to a member’s complete account details across card types is an experience game-changer.”

For more information, visit


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

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Next Big Idea Competition Winners

2021 Next Big Idea Competition Winners & Runner Up

The Next Big Idea Competition is our version of the popular TV Show “Shark Tank” designed to showcase innovation, collaboration, and advancements among our industry.

We were honored to have our partners at CO-OP Financial Services sponsor the competition with a prize pool of $10,000. The award for first place was set at $7,500 with the second place winner receiving $2,500.


2021 Next Big Idea Competition Winner:


renofi logo

RenoFi enables Credit Unions to offer next-generation, home renovation loans that better meet the needs of today’s homeowners.

2nd place awarded to:


Silvur is the first and only app designed to support Americans aged 50+ navigating modern retirement.

Special recognition goes out to the three additional Big Idea finalists mentioned below.

Each finalist presented innovation and drive for advancements within the industry and made it to the top five out of nineteen competitors for the Next Big Idea!

Equipifi is an Enterprise SaaS Solution designed to enable financial institutions to effortlessly offer BNPL solutions to their members.

Nu Direction Lending is the credit union friendly solution of the online small business loan.

Go Digital, Stay Personal: innovate to a new level of member engagement.


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2021 CUSO of the Year Award Winner: LoanStar Technologies & Honorable Mentions

CUSO of the Year

Each year NACUSO recognizes CUSOs pushing to make a difference within the industry through the prestigious CUSO of the Year Awards. The 2021 CUSO of the Year Awards consisted of nine candidates established for more than five years, and were examined on the following criteria:

  • Thought Leadership and Critical Thinking
  • Innovation in Organization Design
  • Value Created Through the Use of Collaboration
  • Implementation and Execution
  • Results, Outcomes and Performance

After careful consideration and interviews with the nine candidates, all of which had good stories to tell, the results are as follows:

2021 CUSO of the Year 
Award Winner:

• LoanStar Technologies


Loan-Star-logoLoanStar Technologies developed a point-of-sale Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) system with the help of 4 credit unions who are owners of LoanStar. They have taken loans that were typically high interest rate (i.e. almost predatory loans) at POS and changed to make a monthly payment members can afford without the high rates and fees. LoanStar has 33 credit unions on their platform, and they recently acquired CU Direct’s OnSpot business.  LoanStar expects to originate $1 billion in loans in 2022.

LoanStar is a full digital experience, the member does not have to go into a branch, they do everything online or with the organization who sells products/services to the consumer. LoanStar has a sales force to help sell to merchants (i.e. dentists, home improvement providers, golf card dealer, etc.) on behalf of a lender. They typically have only one ldner to a merchant, except for big merchants like Renewal by Andersen (window replacement), which is a nationwide relationship.

Andy Turner, founder and CEO, describes LoanStar as a atech company that helps credit unions make loans.  LoanStar has an advisory committee that includes credit unions owners and users as well as CUNA Mutual, to help guide the business. LoanStar is paid a percentage of funded loans, so is paid on a success basis, and LoanStar is profitable.  Andy said LoanStar will do $100 million in swimming pool loans and $10 million in laser eye surgery in 2021, and that LoanStar helps credit unions to generate new members, by offering BNPL loans that eligible members want to utilize.


2021 CUSO of the Year – Honorable Mention:

QCash Financial



In 2005 WA State Employees Credit Union discovered members were using predatory payday lenders to help make ends meet and started QCash to help members with reasonable rates and financial education.  Ten years later, in 2015, QCash Financial was spun off as an independent CUSO to help credit unions across the USA serve their members short term cash needs. We felt QCash’s innovative solution to predatory payday lenders, ingenious approach to underwriting and leading-edge digital delivery as well as their growing impact deserved special recognition.

Approximately 157 million people struggle financially in the U.S. and 43% of Americans cannot handle an unexpected $400 expense. QCash does not use credit scores, they use relational underwriting (based upon the member’s relationship with the CU), and have less than a 5% charge off rate!  Members can get cash into their CU account in under 60 seconds 24x7x365 through their mobile app or the credit union’s website. QCash has both live event loans and specialty loans. Average loan size is $1,200 – $1,500.

39 credit unions are currently using QCash and QCash integrates directly with the Core system of the CU, and their system sets up the loan, setsup an auto payment schedule, etc. In Oregon, a credit union was offering wildfire evacuation loans through QCash. QCash is a SaaS platform, and they have a success business model, so QCash only gets paid when they fund a member loan for a credit union. Credit unions set the rates and any fees, and it is driven by what credit union goals are. The QCash platform is multi-lingual.

Since inception, QCash has made nearly 700,000 loans. Seth Brickman, CEO has a real passion about helping members and he looks at the number of loans they make each day as the number of families they have helped. QCash has 40 credit unions in their funnel. They recently went live with Wright-Patt CU in OH and did 1,300 loans in the first 3 days.

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2021 New CUSO of the Year Award Winner and Two Honorable Mentions

New CUSO of the Year

New CUSO of the Year 2021 Award Winner:

Payac CLG


Ireland’s credit unions are numerous but small.  After the financial crisis in 2008, scores of credit unions were insolvent but there were no powers to solve the problem.  There were no rules regarding mergers or collaboration. The University of Cork hosts a credit union symposium each year.  In 2012, Guy Messick was invited to speak to the Irish credit unions about the use of CUSOs in the United States.  Guy invited Ray Crouse, Kirk Drake, Jeff Russell, and Mark Zook to join him and share their lessons learned.  In 2016, Guy was invited back to speak.

Despite the obstacles, some credit union thought leaders knew that collaboration business models were the lifeline the Irish credit unions needed to survive.  They planned a CUSO that provided payment services, but they first had to obtain the legal authority to do so.  Changing the law was not practical but finding a way to interpret powers within the existing law was worth a try.  They spent 18 months working closely with the credit union regulator to add CUSO powers under the “Additional Powers” section of the credit union law.  Next, the organizers needed to acclimate credit unions to the collaboration model.   They distributed Guy Messick’s book “Credit Union Collaborations: Lessons Learned” to credit unions to communicate the mindset and expectations for successful collaborations.

Payac was formed by six credit union investors.  Payac now has over fifty credit union customers.   Payac is the first CUSO in Ireland with direct credit union investment.  Payac provides payment accounts to enable credit unions to use debit cards, checking accounts, check clearing and a host of back office support services such as regulatory support, training, marketing, analytics, call center, reconciliation, fraud management, and vendor management.  Through common governance, standardization, and scale, Irish credit unions are now able to offer additional services and enjoy reduced prices and preferred service from vendors.  The credit unions now have access to large vendors as FIS MasterCard.  For the first time, Irish credit unions are earning fee income through the payment services.

Each credit union owner has an equal ownership share but users of a service have weighted voting regarding the services. Profits are reinvested in services. Payac is a CUSO pioneer that is transformational.   It has created the powers, culture, and example for Irish credit unions to leverage the powers and potential of collaboration.

Although pandemic travel restrictions prevented Payac from being able to accept the award on the NACUSO stage, Barry Feeney, Payac CFO, expressed their gratitude virtually through this acceptance video:


2021 New CUSO of the Year – Honorable Mentions:

Curql Collective

As more commerce is conducted on digital platforms, Fintechs have grown exponentially.   Many Fintechs are competitors of financial institutions but some wish to partner with financial institutions.  Banks have invested heavily in Fintechs, participated on the Fintech boards, and shaped the Fintechs to better serve banks.   Credit unions do not have that level of influence.  The amounts they can invest are more modest and the investment turn around time is much too long, disjointed, and undisciplined for the Fintechs.

Enter Culql Collective.  In order to have an impact in the marketplace, there must be a significant fund to make investments that is run by experienced professionals who make timely decisions.   The investments must be financially prudent with strategic objectives.  The strategic objectives are (1) to find service providers that offer value to credit unions and (2) to have influence over the direction of the Fintech to preserve and expand the value, i.e., board representation.

Cirql was extremely successful in obtaining investment capital.   Their first subscription amount will be $250 million.    Due to the high interest by credit unions, a second round of funding is expected to be offered in the future. The Curql Fund is managed by a profession fund manager.   The Cirql Collective is the CUSO that makes the Fintech investment decisions from the Cirql Fund.  All investors have an equal vote regardless of the amount of their investment.

Cirql is also transformational.   For the first time, credit unions are credible players in the Fintech investment world.  This will dramatically increase the ability of credit unions to influence Fintechs to better serve them.  Since all Fintechs have to primarily serve credit unions in order to accept the Cirql investments, the Fintechs will become CUSOs or form associated CUSOs, which ties them closer to the credit union culture.  The success of credit unions in today’s world requires the use of the latest technology that is mostly developed outside of credit unions.  By forging closer partnerships with the technology innovators, Cirql is providing the means for credit unions to stay relevant in the lives of their members.


Nymbus CUSO

The Nymbus business model is to provide the technology suite of services credit unions need to serve specific member segments and the expertise to implement the technology and services.  For example, a credit union may want to serve a specific ethnic group but needs the technology and people skills that are different than the credit union currently offers.  Rather than try to modify the current technology and services of the entire credit union, the credit union creates a “division” that runs in parallel with the main technology and services.  The credit union may dedicate its employees to run the division, or the operation may be outsourced to Nymbus.   The credit union division concept may also arise when a merger occurs, and the credit union wants to keep the brand of the merged credit union to serve the members of the merged credit union.   As the division is part of one credit union, the general ledgers communicate with each other to have a unified reporting of the credit union’s financials.  In time, a credit union may elect to use Nymbus for all its core technology needs.

Nymbus uses a collaborative business model to leverage technology and personnel to give credit unions the tools to customize services to their members and remain an effective competitor in the financial marketplace.   Nymbus has the potential to be a game changer in the credit union industry.

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First-Ever CUSO of the Year – Distinguished Service Award Winner: United Solutions Company

2021 Distinguished Service Award Winner:

United Solutions Company

This is a new award that we felt was needed to honor CUSOs like United Solutions who have been providing such exceptional support and service to their credit union owners and partners. This special award is designed to recognize those, like United Solutions, who have been adding value to their credit union partners for decades, and who truly set an example in collaborating while providing unparalleled service to their credit union partners. Their record of never raising prices to their credit union partners, as well as proactively helping their credit union partners to grow and provide competitive technology solutions, really sets them apart.


Ray Cromer was the CEO of United Solutions and the company was started in 1983 when Envision CU got together with another CU and they started the predecessor to United Solutions. They started with Core processing.  They were the very first CUSO in Florida!  Today they service 97 credit union clients in several states. Four CUs are owners.  They also have over 120 banks as clients, which helps to subsidize the costs for credit unions. They also provide more scanning equipment in FL than anyone else, and they have never raised pricing to credit unions since 1983!   An advantage to having only 4 owners, is they are very focused and can make decisions quickly. They also have some industry leaders as “at large” Board members.

Core data processing is their primary service, with over 30% of their revenue coming from Core services … and with their track record of never raising prices, they get included in a lot of RFPs to help credit unions, and their whole reason for being a CUSO is for collaboration with their CU clients.  United Solutions is able to focus on service for their CUs and they typically sign 5-7 year contracts with the CUs. They allow CU clients to have their servers at the United Solutions data centers, where United Solutions can protect them and keep them safe from fraud and cybersecurity problems.

United Solutions measures success through KPIs as well as providing exceptional value to their CU clients.  They have weekly or twice monthly calls with each of their CU clients to stay up to date on how they are doing and help them. The size of the credit union clients ranges from $20 million to $800 million, and they all need the same basic infrastructure to service their members. They do remote processing for a dozen large CUs. All of the credit unions in their data center are all making money and growing.  United Solutions helps them with marketing if they struggle!!  They have built a self-service client portal to help their CUs as well as a CRM system.


Read United Solutions’ take on being the first-ever recipients of this award: