Catalyst Corporate Reaches One-Year Milestone

Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union celebrates its one-year anniversary this week, having formed on Sept. 6, 2011, through the consolidation of Georgia Corporate Federal Credit Union and Southwest Bridge Corporate Federal Credit Union.

“It’s not ‘whew,’ it’s ‘wow,’” said Kathy Garner, Catalyst’s president and CEO. “It has been busy, but at the same time, it has been energizing.”

Approximately 860 credit unions put up more than $90 million in capital to launch the new entity a year ago. In the 12 months since, Catalyst’s membership has continued to grow, boosted in large measure by the addition of more than 300 former Western Bridge members, and Catalyst now boasts more than 1,230 credit union members. Its capital has grown to more than $150 million.

As part of a busy year, Catalyst hired Garner as its new president in March, acquired the rights to Western Bridge Corporate’s membership and launched a consolidation with FirstCorp. Along the way, Catalyst also made time to roll out a new mobile banking product for its member credit unions.

Garner’s ties to the Northwest are extensive, as she has served on the Governmental Affairs Committee for the Credit Union Association of Oregon, and as a board member of the Oregon Credit Union Foundation, the Washington Credit Union Foundation, and the Western Payments Alliance (WesPay). At the time of her appointment as Catalyst’s new leader, Garner was also serving on the board of directors for the Northwest Credit Union Foundation (NWCUF), formed on Jan. 1 after the merger of the Oregon and Washington Foundations.

Much of Garner’s time in her early months on the job has been on the road visiting credit unions and attending credit union events, ensuring that new members are welcomed into Catalyst’s expanded membership.

“Credit unions have been nothing but supportive during the past year. They have expressed that they see Catalyst’s growth as delivering on our business objectives to create efficiency and value by growing scale.”

In June, Catalyst Corporate conducted a member satisfaction survey. More than 2,000 contacts among its member credit unions were invited to participate, and 540 from more than 300 credit unions responded.

One goal was to attain a Net Promoter Score (NPS) by asking: “How likely are you to recommend Catalyst to a friend or colleague?”

Catalyst received an NPS score of 64 percent, placing it slightly behind such companies as Amazon and eBay, and above companies such as Schwab and American Express, Garner said.  The average score in the banking industry is 18 percent, according to the book, “The Ultimate Question 2.0.”

As part of an ongoing strategy to encourage member engagement, Catalyst also formed three regional councils earlier this year. Four of the 12 credit union professionals serving on Catalyst’s western regional council are from Oregon or Washington.

The 36 volunteers serving on the regional Catalyst Councils, along with more than a dozen credit union professionals serving on various committees, join a board of directors that includes Spokane Teachers Credit Union CFO Bill Before and OSU Federal Credit Union President and CEO Rick Hein, having been expanded to 11 positions to better provide additional west coast representation.

“While staff has been busy with integration and serving members, we need to acknowledge and thank Catalyst’s members for the critical role they have played during this past year—credit unions created us, credit unions have supported us, and the future of Catalyst will continue to be shaped by credit unions,” Garner said.


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Posted in Around the NW, Federal, NWCUA.