Christian Community CU: Outsourcing Strategically

SoCal-based Christian Community CU outsourced their vacant compliance position to Aux

Salary and benefits continue to be a significant operational cost to credit unions. At a time when most, if not all small to mid-sized credit unions are taking a hard look at increasing operational efficiencies, considering an alternative to hiring additional staff should be top-of-mind.

Credit unions are now finding value in outsourcing certain areas of their compliance operation. The goal is to retain their current compliance staff, while (1) replacing those who have moved on or retired with outsourced assistance or (2) transitioning current staff to other areas with a better fit. Both options can provide significant improvement to credit unions looking to optimize their compliance department.

There are many benefits of this “mixed resources” approach. Read on to see how $800M Christian Community CU benefited from outsourcing certain areas of their compliance function.

🤔 The Challenge:

Credit unions are wedged in a grey area, where not having a dedicated compliance team makes them vulnerable, but having one certainly stretches salary expenses to a point of discomfort.

“You have this wealth of information and knowledge available to you at your fingertips, not just one person’s interpretation or capacity to know. That in itself is a reason to outsource.”

– Marji Hughes, COO of Christian Community CU

Introduction

Christian Community Credit Union who has been utilizing Aux’s compliance assistance service since 2018. The retirement of their VP of Compliance, a 42-year veteran of the credit union, was the catalyst for Christian Community COO Marji Hughes to explore other options. After reaching out to Aux for information, Hughes was pleased to find that her credit union would be able to reduce the position’s operational costs by over 75% if she chose to outsource instead of rehiring the position. Hughes knows a thing or two about credit union operations. She has been involved in the credit union industry for 33 years, starting as branch manager and working up through all the business units to become COO.

In this study, you will learn how:

  1. Outsourcing parts of your credit union’s compliance can have significantly lower costs than hiring an FTE.
  2. You can reallocate the costs saved on salary and benefits to improve other areas of your credit union.
  3. A team of outsourced compliance experts can provide a wider spectrum of knowledge and interpretation than one single specialist can.
  4. Compliance doesn’t have to be a core competency – it can be outsourced like any other skilled service.

Over a 75% Reduction in Costs

Knowing the operational savings would be substantial, Christian Community CU opted to work with the Aux Compliance Team, which included the CUSO’s popular Compliance Marketing bundle. “We have utilized the marketing compliance area quite a bit. The staff at [Aux] are doing the same amount of research that the VP of Compliance was doing,” said Hughes. There is one big difference however, and that is the substantial decrease in cost for the credit union. “The cost savings were huge – Aux’s compliance services cost 22% of what it cost for salary and benefits for our VP of Compliance,” said Hughes.

👏The Benefit:

The savings gained from hiring outside compliance assistance, rather than hiring another FTE, allowed Christian Community CU to use the funds to improve operational efficiencies throughout the credit union.

Reallocating Money to Needy Areas

Outsourcing compliance often comes with a savings of over $50K, and many credit unions that utilize the service reallocate the extra money to needy areas of their organization. This could be in hiring staff in other departments, training and promoting current staff, or investing in tools and resources to streamline efficiency. Christian Community used their cost savings in two ways. The first: “It freed up money to staff in areas where we needed staffing, and we were able to bring in resources for other departments. We hired one additional person in a totally different department that we really needed,” explained Hughes.

The second: “We kept the BSA area of compliance in house, which allowed us to create an additional role for a current employee. Her new role gave her room to grow – it is like a second skin to her.” Using the cost savings from outsourcing improved other departments and allowed the credit union to nurture an employee growth track.

Breadth of Knowledge

Aside from hard cost savings, the single biggest benefit credit unions appreciate across all of Aux’s back office outsourced products is the breadth and depth of knowledge it brings. Because the Aux Compliance Team collectively has over 100 years of credit union-specific experience and has assisted over 50 credit unions, they know the ropes more than any single employee can. “They see so much more than our VP would have seen just working here, because they support so many other credit unions and have a totally different vantage point,” explains Hughes.

👏The Benefit:

Deep, credit union-centric compliance experience ensures well-rounded, current, and thorough expertise – without having to worry about disruption in function, like PTO, sick leave, and resignations.

Compliance Doesn’t Have to be a Core Competency

One thing that’s for certain is that credit union employees are known for wearing multiple hats. Another thing that’s for certain is that keeping up to date on compliance is a huge endeavor. More credit unions are realizing that they don’t have to be fluent in compliance, because having an outsourcing partner can do the job just as well. Credit unions are abandoning the notion that compliance “needs to be in-house.”

COO Hughes looks at a compliance officer like an attorney or auditor – something you can easily outsource. “I would outsource as much as humanly possible if I could, because being able to serve my members is most important. If managing compliance takes you away from serving your members or a valuable employee away from doing something that provides a better level of service, then outsource it. Compliance is compliance is compliance. All you need is an expert to guide you.”

Conclusion

We hope this case study provided insight into the benefits Christian Community CU gained from supplementing their compliance function with the Aux Team’s deep credit union compliance expertise.

To recap, below are the benefits Christian Community gained from our partnership:

1. Outsourcing parts of your compliance can have significantly lower costs than hiring an FTE.
2. You can reallocate the costs saved on salary and benefits to improve other areas of your credit union.
3. A team of outsourced compliance experts can provide a wider spectrum of knowledge and interpretation than one single specialist can.
4. Compliance doesn’t have to be a core competency – it can be outsourced like any other skilled service.

christian community logo

About Christian Community CU

Christian Community Credit Union was established in 1957 as American Baptist Ministers Credit Union in Southern California. Since then, membership has grown nationwide and internationally to serve churches, ministries, and their members, as well as Christian schools, colleges, seminaries, retirement homes, and other ministries.

Today, Christian Community Credit Union is one of the largest credit unions serving the Christian community.  Their focus is on people, not profits. They help build God’s Kingdom by partnering with individuals and ministries to help them manage their money in a God-honoring way.

Whether it’s constructing or remodeling a new church building or funding a home loan, members’ money is working in the Christian community. To date, the Credit Union has donated more than $5 million to ministry and missions projects in the U.S. and around the globe.

Learn more at www.mycccu.com

Wondering if compliance assistance could help your credit union? Reach out to us for a zero-salesy, zero-pushy chat.👇

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