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Okla. Credit Union house hosts cost-cutting powwow for nine leagues.

The push toward internal cost-cutting at credit unions and their trade groups has an Oklahoma face this month with a high-level state league conference slated this week at the new Credit Union House of the Credit Union Association of Oklahoma.

The meeting, scheduled to open Nov. 2 at the Oklahoma City site, brings together CEOs, chairmen and board members from nine leagues to discuss forming a CUSO to handle combined accounting and human relations functions.

Invited to attend the session were representatives from Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Louisiana, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Oklahoma.

The concept for a joint CUSO to avoid duplication and reduce expenses for participating leagues arose out of a year-old management pact covering those services plus other back-office functions forged a year ago between the Oklahoma and Texas leagues, said Debra Morrow, president/ CEO of the Oklahoma league.

The leadership of many small leagues, like hers, she said, have long sought ways to cooperate with larger brethren on a more formal basis "to ensure their own survival and to use existing resources" in shared regional compacts.

Small leagues, she said, will always require a strong financial support structure to continue state and federal lobbying, but solutions are needed to save on back-office costs.

Morrow said she thought it fitting the conference on this topic will be held in the newly opened, $2.2 million Credit Union House that also serves as the headquarters for CUAO, which this fall relocated to Oklahoma City from its longstanding home in Tulsa.

In May the trade group adopted the "association" moniker, abandoning the league name in line with a handful of state organizations.

Grand opening ceremonies for Credit Union House, complete with visits by Oklahoma lawmakers and invites extended to Gov. Brad Henry and Lt. Gov. Jari Askins, both Democrats, were held last week.

The one-story facility, located within blocks of the state capitol building, has been on the drawing boards for five years, but final construction was delayed following site, funding and personnel hang-ups, all of it coming as the trade group cemented management ties with the Texas League in 2008.

"We're excited about our dream at last coming true," said Morrow in expressing delight the league will have a higher public profile and hopefully greater lobbying strength with a site closer to state government than it has in Tulsa.

As part of the group's economizing, CUAO reduced its Tulsa staff from 24 down to 10, largely the result of attrition and a decision by some not to move.

--jrubenstein@cutimes.com
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Author:Rubenstein, Jim
Publication:Credit Union Times
Date:Nov 4, 2009
Words:423
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