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The NACUSO Conference has always been an exciting week where deals get done and face-to-face professional connections further innovation and collaborative solutions. In this community, “people helping people” knows no limits. 

As QCash CEO Seth Brickman proudly held up our CUSO’s flag at this week’s conference at Disney’s Beach Club Resorts in Lake Buena Vista, Florida (while taking home Runner-Up at the Next Big Idea Competition!), we always keep in mind our CUSO’s values, our beginnings, and our importance to the financial services ecosystem. 

Identifying our CUSO value from the start 

The story of the QCash Financial CUSO also started as a collaboration of sorts or, more accurately, a simple inquiry that turned a brainstorm into something much bigger. It all began in 2003 when a Washington State Employees Credit Union (WSECU) teller asked the credit union’s then-CEO Kevin Foster-Keddie why so many non-members were cashing member checks. 

Turns out there were a lot of members who were going to payday lenders for small dollar loans. Unfortunately, the interest rates on those types of loans all but strapped low-income members into a financial debt trap, often followed by a financial tailspin. 

What WSECU created in response became the QCash Financial CUSO – a life event loan that does not use traditional credit scoring and is available 24/7. The goal? Help members find financial inclusion by getting above rough financial waters when life’s unexpected emergencies threaten their economic future – minus the crippling fees. 

The creation of QCash was a direct result of the credit union community’s recognition of member pain points and then taking drastic action to design an affordable solution with immediate access to funds. QCash is proud to be a part of a CUSO community that represents a new era of collaboration and partnership between credit unions and financial technologies that elevates and consistently improves upon the member experience for cooperatives everywhere. 

Bringing that forward-thinking philosophy to this week’s NACUSO Conference was yet another foundational opportunity to inspire industry peers and attending executives, encourage new visions of member- and consumer fintech for credit unions, and take practical action to cultivate financial inclusion with cooperatives in neighborhoods throughout the country.

“Credit unions are better set up for financial inclusion. The credit union’s mission, which is tied to advancing broader social and environmental goals, was designed by its members.”

– Kevin Foster-Keddie, retired CEO, WSECU

What CUSOs represent for the future of credit unions and their members

More consumers in recent years are moving towards member-owned credit union cooperatives for their financial services needs. A sticking point is that many credit unions cannot always provide the diverse range of financial services offered by the big banks while lacking the financial tools to keep up with ever-changing, member-facing technologies. 

According to credit union and fintech expert and insider Brian Lauer, author of CUSOs: How Credit Unions and Entrepreneurs Can Get Started With (and WIn!) with Credit Union Service Organizations, credit unions must become more flexible and adaptive to remain relevant, and CUSOs can enable the kind of growth they need. 

QCash CEO Seth Brickman explained the value a CUSO like QCash can provide on a CUInsight Network podcast with Lauren Culp in October 2021: 

“When you think about members who are experiencing a time of need, if you can’t meet their needs, the need doesn’t go away. They still need to have that need met, and so if they can’t do it at their credit union, they’re going to go somewhere else that most likely has predatory practices that are going to hurt them more than help.

“What QCash does is bring that relationship back into the credit union where we allow them to be that primary financial institution and say, ‘Look, you had a life event. We have a life event loan that’s going to be able to help you in this time that’s not only not going to be predatory, it’s actually going to help you. Because as long as the credit union reports their loans to the bureaus, it’s actually going to help that member build better credit so they can get back into traditional lending. That’s the space that credit unions need to play. They need to play in that space of helping their members when their members have a need and not causing their members to go outside of the credit union because they don’t offer a product that helps.”

Who else had a great time at the NACUSO Conference this year?
Photo: Jaime Lopes | Unsplash

CUSOs taking business to the next level

CUSOs care about the credit union movement because they are part of that movement. They understand the needs, shortcomings, and practices of cooperatives and the vast array of advantages they offer. They are present to serve the singular needs and are typically managed by people from the credit union industry. Through that cooperative structure, those organizations can access CUSO services without having to spend valuable capital on research and development from within their own organization.

By tapping into the resources of a CUSO, the money spent on financial tools and assets stays within the credit union industry and continues to help the mission of “people helping people.” 

QCash hopes you had a great week at the NACUSO Conference just like we did, and wish you a successful 2022.If you would like to stay in touch with QCash and stay up-to-date on what’s happening with us, feel free to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn!