Gulf Coast Federal Credit Union Makes History with First Field of Membership of its Kind
Gulf Coast Federal Credit Union is the first credit union to convert from a community charter to a multiple common bond charter to obtain a larger yet entirely inclusive community by adding multiple underserved areas with the assistance of CUCollaborate. Southern Texas has become a hot bed of growth during CEO Jeremy Garza’s 18 years with the credit union, but Gulf Coast FCU couldn’t really capitalize on that with its community charter-based field of membership population was just 375,000. “In the last four years, we had a few multibillion-dollar credit unions come into this area. We needed to see how we could expand our service area,” Garza stated. The credit union’s community charter was not going to allow the credit union to achieve the growth Garza and the board felt it needed to succeed long term. The CEO believes in leveraging the tools and expertise required to accomplish what needs to be done – enter CUCollaborate. “In my first 20-minute phone call with CUCollaborate Founder/CEO Sam Brownell, he already knew what NCUA was requesting, how to package it, the input they’d need from us and the time and who from the credit union would be involved,” Garza explained. “It seemed like a really good decision for us to work with CUCollaborate because they already had a model. All we needed to do was input data into that formula, and they submitted to NCUA.” Not only did working with CUCollaborate remove a lot of the heavy lifting from the Gulf Coast FCU team, but the credit union consultancy, using its proprietary software, identified a much larger area than Gulf Coast was originally considering. The credit union might have been able to add a couple other counties, but CUCollaborate was able to get Gulf Coast FCU all of that, plus, by converting from community charter to a multiple common bond charter, added a few groups and three underserved areas. The underserved areas alone cover every area it could possibly have gotten as a community charter and more! “We were incredibly pleased to be able to guide Gulf Coast FCU and Jeremy on its path toward growth and continued relevance,” Brownell said. “When credit unions begin using their fields of membership as a strategic tool, we can reach more members in need of financial services and collaboratively fulfill the people-helping-people philosophy. “I talk a lot about competition, nothing negative about that,” Garza acknowledged, “but when you’re one of the smaller credit unions, use people who have knowledge or technology. We’re doing both with Sam and CUCollaborate.” # # # About CUCollaborate CUCollaborate is a research, consulting, and software company with a mission to help credit unions beat banks. Our proprietary software allows us to mitigate the impact regulations have on credit unions’ ability to grow. We specialize in growth, field of membership and chartering, CDFI certification and grant writing, low-income designation attainment and retention, and mergers and acquisitions. We work with over 200 credit unions ranging in size from $5 million dollars in assets to over $10 billion.