Catalyst Corporate’s Kathy Garner Reflects on Five Years at the Helm

Kathy Garner, CEO, Catalyst Corporate Credit Union

When Kathy Garner took the reins at Catalyst Corporate credit union in 2012, the corporate system was emerging from the financial crisis. She rolled up her sleeves and built a leadership mission focused on efficiency, value for member credit unions, technology, well-qualified talent, and engagement with the members.

The relationship piece has kept her in close contact with the credit unions, and never in her five years as CEO has she feared walking to a credit union.

“Our members appreciate that we’re innovative with services, systems, and processes,” she noted. “They feel comfortable giving me feedback on ways to improve our services, and they always deliver it in a constructive manner. I’m always willing to make changes to improve.”

Today Catalyst provides its member credit unions with core financial services and back office support such as payment solutions, liquidity, investment options, and balance sheet management assistance.

Garner believes much of the corporate’s success is driven by alliances and collaboration. “Working together,” she says, “yields significant benefits for credit unions and their members.”

Two good examples she shared are the partnership with Alloya Corporate to roll out a suite of remote deposit services – “TranzCapture” — and a robust loan participation program.

“We’ve been able to redistribute nearly $1.5 billion in liquidity among credit unions in an economic climate where the ability to do that is so vital,” Garner said.

As for what’s on the horizon, Garner sees a need for corporates to work together with the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) to right-size regulations to better reflect today’s marketplace. The rules were put into place during the recession, and may no longer be relevant.

She also wants to stay out front on innovation.

“It’s not enough to just develop products. I want to develop them with credit unions. I want to continue to seek feedback and collaborate with other corporates,” she said.

Editor’s note: Garner maintains her Northwest roots and continues to serve as a member of the Board of Directors of the Northwest Credit Union Foundation.

Posted in Around the NW.