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Catalyst Corporate Marks Fifth Anniversary
Friday, September 9, 2016 6:45 AM

Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union turns five this week. So, here's a high-five look at some of the corporate's activities since its last anniversary.

"A key initiative that has been building momentum the past three years has begun to produce significant benefits for our membership," said Kathy Garner, president/CEO of Catalyst Corporate. "Our 'culture of innovation' is now generating well-researched and vetted new services that help our member credit unions differentiate their institutions in a competitive marketplace."

Garner highlighted the TranzCapture next-generation suite of remote deposit services being developed by Catalyst Corporate as an example. While credit unions still have a very real need to provide deposit capture services, vendors that introduced these services a decade ago may have lost interest in supporting enhancements to a mature system – looking, instead, to develop revenue streams in other areas, Garner added.

The new web-based TranzCapture platform, which includes Branch, ATM, Mobile, Business and Interactive Teller Machine Capture applications, is integrated into the Corporate's account management portal to enable access with a single sign-on. By developing its own platform, Catalyst Corporate will be able to control design, timing and pricing of new services and service enhancements. The new platform is expected to launch in the fourth quarter of 2016, with a majority of credit unions coming on board in 2017.

Furthering the spirit of innovation, Catalyst Corporate collaborated with Alloya Corporate Federal Credit Union to create TranzCapture, LLC, a credit union service organization, to gain additional efficiencies and economies of scale, as well as set the stage for future cooperative ventures with other corporates and credit union organizations.

Modeled after Filene Research Institute's i3 program, Catalyst Corporate has management-led employee/credit union "innovation teams" that evaluate the feasibility of potential new services. Their efforts have resulted in ideas for several new products, including Catalyst Corporate's popular Checking with Benefits mobile rewards program.

"Designed to add value to checking accounts, strengthen member engagement and generate fee income, the premium mobile app, called BaZing, offers powerful benefits, including retailer discounts, cell phone insurance, roadside assistance and identity theft protection," Garner said. "Fifteen credit unions are already offering, or are in the process of offering, these benefits to their members."

Catalyst Corporate’s agent loan participation program is another innovative solution that has helped nearly 100 credit unions manage their balance sheets. This program connects credit unions wanting to sell loans with credit unions wanting to purchase loans. The two-year-old program is nearing the $1 billion milestone, with millions more in the growing pipeline.

Catalyst Corporate's culture of innovation is supported by its strong financial performance. The organization continued to exceed performance targets over the past year. At the end of June 2016, Catalyst Corporate had $51.5 million in retained earnings and a retained earnings ratio of 2.00 percent, double the regulatory requirement that takes effect this October. Catalyst Corporate's operating efficiency ratio, which reflects the operating expenses covered by fee income, was 93 percent. A high operating efficiency ratio lessens reliance on the balance sheet for producing income, which minimizes risk and provides agility for fluctuating market conditions, said Garner.

"Catalyst Corporate's business model, provided to members in 2011, includes a commitment to safe and sound operations, a conservative balance sheet, and strong financial performance," she said.

Another component of strong financial performance is expanding market share. Although the number of credit unions nationwide continues to shrink, Catalyst Corporate has added new capitalizing member credit unions each year of its existence. In 2015, 14 new capitalizing members joined Catalyst Corporate, and eight have joined so far in 2016 for a total of more than 1,350 capitalizing member credit unions. Catalyst Corporate also continues to expand service usage by member credit unions and non-member credit unions (off-balance sheet services, such as advisory and ALM services).

"Increasing scale gives Catalyst Corporate the ability to operate as a full-service, one-stop shop, setting competitive prices and performing ongoing product development for its member credit unions," said Garner.

Catalyst Corporate continued to emphasize member education and networking over the past year, and for the first time, offered all training at no charge. The corporate hosted 30 service-related and 17 investment webinars, with many eligible for CPE credits. One major educational initiative was preparing credit unions for Phase 1 of Same-Day ACH, which takes effect September 23.

Catalyst Corporate held webinars on the subject and also launched a dedicated newsletter and microsite to provide its members with ACH-focused information. In addition, plans are currently underway for the 39th annual Economic Forum to be held in Dallas, Texas, Oct. 3-5, and the 2017 Accelerating Success Conference, Feb. 15-17 at the Omni National Resort in Tucson, Arizona.

More information about Catalyst Corporate's services, and how they can help your credit union, is available online. For information about the upcoming Economic Forum, visit catalystcorp.org/r/forum.

Catalyst Corporate Credit Union is an endorsed five-star business partner of Credit Union Resources, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Cornerstone Credit Union League.