If you’re paying attention at all around mid-Michigan, you certainly must know about Michigan State University Federal Credit Union.
As deeply engaged as MSUFCU is in the community, the credit union seems to be everywhere in Greater Lansing.
But what in the world is a CUSO? Maybe you’ve never heard of the acronym, but a CUSO started by MSUFCU is continually growing its roots in the region and quietly building a better community as a result.
CUSO stands for credit union service organization, and MSUFCU’s CUSO is the East Lansing-based Reseda Group.
“Reseda Group helps credit unions remain relevant and competitive by delivering the best products and services to its employees and members,” said April Clobes, president and CEO of both MSUFCU and Reseda Group. “Driven by our shared goal of building better for members, Reseda Group invests in strategic partners that will bring new technology, digital resources and credit union industry solutions to market.
The aim is to help a stronger MSUFCU enable a stronger region.
“I think Reseda helps provide new avenues of growth for our businesses,” said Clobes. “We are investing in locally owned businesses and retaining and attracting employees to support the Greater Lansing region.”
Reseda Group invests in or wholly owns several Lansing-area businesses ranging across a variety of relevant industries, including:
Spave, a fintech company designed to empower personal financial independence and charitable giving through its mobile solution.
Ever Green 3C, which helps credit unions and organizations create meaningful, loyal relationships with their members, customers and employees through financial wellness solutions.
Foresight Group, which consolidates print communication resources to promote businesses, services, events and products.
M3 Group, a fully integrated, digitally focused, strategically driven branding and marketing agency and publisher of 517 Magazine.
Thirteen other CUSOs with missions that range from payment processing and financial wellness apps to insurance, benefits and more.
The additions are hardly random. There is a coordinated strategy to each puzzle part addition.
“We are working to create diversified revenue opportunities for (MSUFCU); create a structure to invest in and utilize new financial technologies; improve internal efficiencies by acquiring or creating adjacent services to our core business, such as insurance products; improve internal efficiencies by acquiring or creating businesses that we have used as vendor/partner, such as our printer or advertising agency; and deliver financial wellness solutions to members and credit union partners,” Clobes said.
Likewise, each member of the Reseda Group family plays a specific role that supports the whole.
“Their roles are to bring relevant products and services to our industry to help the industry grow and prosper,” said Clobes. “They complement each other and MSUFCU’s core business with their integrated services.
“For example, Foresight Group handles the printing, logo items and signage for MSUFCU and for the other entities within Reseda. … This magazine created by M3 is now printed by Foresight Group,” she continued. “M3 is engaged in assisting Foresight Group customers with branding and advertising work. M3 is also an MSUFCU partner that manages our public relations, commercial creation and certain campaigns. They also collaborate with teams from the minority investment companies to share knowledge and influence strategic growth.”
That inter-company collaboration creates efficiencies and allows those services to be delivered at a larger scale.
“Ever Green 3C is bringing financial education platforms with articles, podcasts, videos, budget tools and calculators, along with customized personal financial wellness insights. Ever Green 3C is designed to integrate into credit unions’ digital banking programs and provides education for all ages,” according to Clobes. “In addition, Ever Green 3C has curriculum workbooks for classroom participants and teachers to assist in financial education for K-12. These programs can be provided directly to school districts or sponsored by their local credit union.”
Clobes added that “both Foresight Group and M3 are bringing unique services to the credit union industry. With Foresight Group, we have created cuSuite, which is a monthly subscription service where a credit union could log in and customize print, email and social media marketing campaigns at a lower per-piece cost. M3 is helping to create the content formats. The subscription service includes templates for commercials, hiring and onboarding campaigns, and more.”
Notably, many of the Reseda Group subsidiaries — Spave, Foresight and M3 Group — are led by women in the C-suite level, like MSUFCU and Reseda themselves.
“We worked to partner with strong organizations that will add value to Reseda and the industry,” Clobes said. “As with all MSUFCU entities, our values include ensuring that each person has an opportunity to do their best work by bringing their best and whole self to work. Everyone has the ability to be successful.”