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A Direct Line - A Blog addressing issues and topics of interest for Montana credit union board members
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A blog addressing issues and topics of interest for Montana credit union board members. Read a new post every week. 

Who Says There's No Such Thing as a Free Lunch?

by Donya Parrish, MCUN

We have all heard that phrase. I first heard about it in Economics 101 as an explanation that everything has a cost associated with it. But, this “free lunch” has only benefits for your credit union. Hear me out...

Could your credit union use help with strategic planning? Operational assistance? Policy consulting? Of course you could. What if I also told you that help comes from highly qualified individuals and is free?! NCUA has a great program available to support your credit union, and I want to encourage you to take advantage of it.

The NCUA Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives (OSCUI) consulting service is available through application or nomination. You might think, “But we aren’t small.” The office works to provide programs and support to credit unions with assets of less than $50 million (mid-sized, at least by Montana standards!) as well as those who have a low-income designation. We have 50 credit unions in Montana with the low income designation, so odds are, you probably qualify!

OSCUI’s consulting services include six-months of support by experienced Economic Development Specialists who can help you in budgeting, marketing, policy development, or strategic planning, as well as in operational and regulatory areas. You let them know your need, and they concentrate there. For example, one Montana credit union is using the Consulting Program to set up a risk-based lending program and another new credit union manager jumped on the opportunity to get professional advice on many topic areas. Credit unions can apply for it themselves (self-nominate) or be nominated by an NCUA or state examiner.

The Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives is currently helping 187 credit unions across the United States and accepting consulting program nominations for the first half of 2015. An online nomination form is available here. The deadline for submitting nominations is Nov. 30 at 3 p.m. MST. Interested credit unions can learn more about the program by visiting the consulting webpage or by emailing OSCUI at

Maybe we’ll suggest to NCUA that they rename their program to be the Office of SUPER Credit Union Initiatives? That fits better with what it accomplishes. Don’t you agree?

Donya Parrish is the VP-Dues Supported Services for the Montana Credit Union Network. She would welcome any questions or comments on this material. You can email Donya or call her at 800-745-5546, ext. 122. 


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