An Evolution to Meet Credit Unions’ Needs Now and into the Future

Despite much uncertainty and change over the past few years, Northwest credit unions continue to place a relentless focus on innovation, improving operations, and better serving their members.

They’re accelerating into the digital space at warp speed, thanks, in part, to their teams’ creativity, leadership, and investment in the growing network of business partners that help credit unions drive sustainable growth.

Finding and vetting those essential business partners, though, can be both time-consuming and risk-filled when it comes to integration and implementation.

As NWCUA’s service corporation, Strategic Link taps into the power of credit unions’ cooperative intelligence to bring emerging technology and the industry’s best business partners to the forefront. This mission is best represented in the Value Creation Task Force, where credit union leaders in diverse roles help review the latest in digital innovation and partner solutions. Armed with unique perspectives shaped in all corners of the Northwest, the task force understands what credit unions need now and into the future.

Still, the financial services landscape is rapidly evolving.

“Industry consolidation, advances in technology, changes in consumer behavior and demographics, the evolving regulatory environment, and fintech expansion — these are all factors that will continue to drive heightened competition across the industry,” said Cameron Smith, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Resources.

Meeting that evolution head-on, Strategic Link recently invested in the Curql Fund — a credit union-owned venture capital fund focused on investing in fintechs that serve credit unions. The professionally managed fund model helps diversify risk while providing the upside benefit of ownership.

Impressively, many of the first early investments of the Curql Fund have been with partners that the Value Creation Task Force helped vet in the Northwest — companies like Eltropy for omnichannel communications, Posh Technologies in conversational AI, ZestAI for AI-driven lending, and Nymbus with its banking-as-a-service software.

“Alongside leading credit unions and industry partners, Strategic Link’s investment in the Curql Fund is projected to make a healthy return,” said Smith. “More importantly, it is an opportunity to further grow existing business partnerships as well as develop new ones to better serve credit unions’ ever-changing needs. And it provides another avenue for the Northwest Credit Union Movement to amplify its collective voice as the fintech and financial services ecosystem evolves.”

With the continued engagement and leadership of NWCUA members, Strategic Link is committed to helping Northwest credit unions thrive in this coming decade of change.

Contact the Strategic Link team to learn more about current business partners, propose new ones, or discuss your experience working with a partner. Your input empowers our shared efforts for innovation and excellence.

Posted in Strategic Link.