From Spark to Launch

1. Discovering the Possible

Establishing a credit union presents challenges – as with the formation of any other business. Enter CU*Answers! With a network of expertise, CU*Answers has mastered the process of growing credit unions from the embryonic stage to a thriving business. We not only offer information and guidance, we are an integral part of your endeavor providing project management, experienced counsel, and skillful training at every point along the way.

CU*Answers has embarked on many missions through the years to prepare and serve start-up credit unions as they build a presence in their communities. Sound financial institutions have a solid base as their core processing system and secured data storage. CU*BASE is the premier core processing software designed and developed by CU*Answers, an organization committed to credit union success. Added to their flagship product, CU*BASE, CU*Answers fosters the development of de novo credit unions through innovative use of proven methodologies in their arsenal of practical tools and relevant services.

2. DEsigning The Credit UnioN

Start here! Your decision to choose a State or Federal charter type dictates the starting point and navigation through the requirements specific to that type. Regardless of the charter type, all credit unions must insure their deposits. The predominant insuring agency for credit unions is the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) for share insurance. The following links will assist you in taking first steps toward your chartered credit union. The NCUA website is a resource powerhouse for answers about application for field of membership, assistance on completing required paperwork, development of business plans, and opportunities for grants to fund your start-up costs.

See more information on Field of Membership Applications.

While the NCUA is an authority on emerging credit unions, most States have trade organizations called credit union leagues. These organizations are non-profit organizations comprised of credit unions in your state or region. Many of these leagues also offer assistance programs to assist in the chartering process. Use a search engine such as Google, Bing, or to search for a credit union league in your state.

3. Commitment To Financial Stability

Fully committed to the credit union industry, CU*Answers has crafted a program to transform your ideas for a credit union into a viable, operating credit union. Functioning much like a blueprint, this plan is a guide and road map that supports critical decisions you must make in the formative process.

Offered free of charge to new, start-up credit unions, this targeted program invests the skills of our industry professionals into your business. This is an aggressive plan that brings together your team and our skilled practitioners to form a new credit union. This strong message resonates to the industry that CU*Answers is financially committed to every de novo effort, and as proof, they provide free data processing services for your new credit union’s initial 2-year period.

View the brochure

4. Navigating The Operational Landscape

The credit union you form is the outcome of tactical decisions made regarding software, procedures, vendors, and service providers. The CU*Answers catalog of ancillary offerings can get you to market at the speed of light.

Common decisions include the vendor selection process, products you’ll offer, capacity of your systems, service levels, employee capabilities, and a mine field of regulatory requirements that you must address in a few short months. CU*Answers Managed Services is your expert, ready to support your navigation through these areas. Seasoned credit union professionals with many years of collective experience are your compass, working with your emerging credit union, just as they work in day-to-day operations of the credit union business.

The CMS division of CUAnswers ( this service at an affordable cost to de novo credit unions. In fact, the only cost passed on to you is the nominal fees to cover the time expense. This is not a profit center for CUAnswers. This program springs from unshakable belief in the credit union industry and the inherent desire drive the momentum of new credit unions. This program includes:

  • Project management – from the spark of idea to launch
  • Ongoing training to assure your staff is prepared to serve members
  • Policy derivation
  • By-law reviews and best practice recommendations
  • Creation of savings products and associative regulatory disclosures
  • Internal auditing
  • Back office bookkeeping and accounting
  • Fee structure consulting
  • Regulatory training requirements
  • General ledger and daily suspense monitoring
  • Lending product set-up including:
    • Core processing configuration and set-up
    • Loan forms consulting and recommendations
    • Loan protection/insurance consulting
    • Collection of past due accounts
  • Collection of past due accounts
  • Credit and Debit/ATM card consulting and vendor selection
  • Disaster recovery planning
  • Internal network design and security
  • Marketing and call center
  • Web site design, hosting, and hosting of e-mail