Greg Smith, CEO of CU*NorthWest, was recognized by the Southern California Credit Union Alliance (SCCUA) as the recipient of the Collaborator of the Year award at the 2016 SCCUA Dinner With Friends held in November in Las Vegas, Nevada, in conjunction with the CA/NV Leagues REACH Conference. Greg is the third winner following Bill Birnie, CEO of Pacific Marine Credit Union in 2014 and Diana Dykstra, CEO of the California Credit Union League in 2015.
California Credit Union League board chair, member of the SCCUA award selection committee, and CEO of Inland Valley FCU, Chuck Papenfus stated: “Greg won, not just because he is the CEO of CU*NorthWest, nor was it because he helped form a cooperative information technology CUSO that facilitates collaboration among credit unions. He received the award because of the tireless actions during his tenure to make collaboration real. One principle example can be found as a co-founder of Site-Four, a collaborative business venture between credit unions and CUSOs.” Site-Four is a 100% credit union owned collaborative operations and co-location center in the Midwest. Site-Four is currently hosting core processing operations for 60+ credit unions and serves as a high-availability site for over 200 more.
Papenfus continued: “Greg has arranged numerous regional collaborative training events in Southern California and a collections service collaboration in 2016. He was instrumental in providing multiple scholarships for credit unions who needed help through a tough time and for those efforts was awarded the Shapiro Group’s Kim Bannon Eternal Flame award by the CA/NV Credit Union League in 2014. This year, Greg also championed marketing solutions for his credit union clients and convinced his board to allocate $60K towards these efforts in addition to returning ten cents on every dollar spent with CU*NorthWest by owners.”
After accepting the award, Greg reflected on the challenge of collaboration: “I have an enormous amount of respect for what Jon Hernandez and the SCCUA organization have built. More large collaborative efforts are needed. As a pure cooperative business model, CU*NorthWest is uniquely positioned to align with credit union cooperatives. Our core processing suite, CU*BASE®, is the only product available from a 100% credit union-owned cooperative and that is starting to really mean something to many credit unions. Everything we do, every technology we create has a collaborative consideration. Collaboration is something that many innately aspire to but very few have actually refined to a business design and competitive strategy. We work on that challenge every day in the cuasterisk.com network and it is encouraging that credit unions are starting to recognize those efforts. I couldn’t be more honored.”
The Collaborator of the Year award was established in 2004 to recognize the collaborative contributions of individuals in the credit union industry. The award committee looks at current year efforts with consideration given to past accomplishments.