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A Direct Line Blog

CUCollaborate: An Evolving Partnership

June 26, 2024 7:30 am

By Beth Satre, MCU Membership Data Manager

a photo taken looking down at two sets of feet on a sidewalk with the words "Passion for Credit Unions Led Us Here."When Sam Brownell founded CUCollaborate 10 years ago, he had an idea for a company that could help credit unions grow. By pulling together, analyzing, and mapping credit union data, CUCollaborate could do two things:

  1. Make it easier for consumers and organizations to find, join, and borrow from credit unions.
  2. Help credit unions understand their current operations and identify growth opportunities, especially possible field of membership (FOM) expansions.

MCU Early Support and Benefits

Sam had a stellar idea, but he needed support in the industry to move forward. Montana’s Credit Unions (MCU) was one of the first leagues that jumped on board, and our credit unions benefitted. Thanks to our partnership agreement, all of MCU’s affiliated credit unions were featured in (CUCollaborate’s online directory for consumers). They also had access to CUCollaborate’s data sets and help applying for FOM expansion.

CUCollaborate Grows

CUCollaborate has continued to work with credit unions while refining its software and data collection tools and expanding staff expertise in credit union data, operations, and FOM. In the process, demand has soared for the company’s consulting services in the areas of FOM expansion and, more recently, CDFI and Low-Income designations and grants.

At the same time, CUCollaborate developed the software tools AnalyzeCU and ExpandCU mapping. These tools do the following:

  • AnalyzeCU is a business analysis software that makes it possible to use a credit union’s data to measure its community impact and generate a report for advocacy and engagement.
  • ExpandCU is a mapping software that can help credit unions define potential FOM expansion areas, understand CDFI Investment Areas, and analyze market opportunities.

These Days …

Since Sam founded CUCollaborate in 2014, his idea and company have taken off. The tools the company developed have helped many credit unions — including a number in Montana — expand their FOM, apply for grants, and research branch and business expansion.

In 2023, after looking at its services and who was using them, CUCollaborate decided to reorganize its partnership model to better support the entire credit union system with its available staff. Here are the main takeaways:

  • The company now gives its league partners free access to AnalyzeCU and ExpandCU to aid in advocacy and engagement efforts.
  • CUCollaborate, however, no longer provides free consultancy services under any of their partner agreements, including MCU’s.
  • The CreditUnionMatch directory is available for leagues and credit unions that partner with CUCollaborate. All of MCU’s affiliated credit unions are featured.

If you have any questions about CUCollaborate, the services it offers, or how to access them, email me at or give me a call at 406-324-7457.

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