Park Side Credit Union
Park Side Credit Union (PSCU), based in western Montana, is one of two real-world examples of community banking providers in this article who have done something interesting.
Originally founded in 1965 to serve the Whitefish, MT Great Northern rail road employees, the credit union has rapidly expanded in the last 20 years, with the goal of serving Western Montana as an underserved market. Their slogan is “We like to say YES” and the culture of the credit union employees reflects that. Three of the four core principles of the credit union are pride, passion, and purpose. Employees are encouraged to take pride in their community, and pick community service organisations and volunteer groups in which to enroll.
On the business level, PSCU has updated its non-profit organization funding program. Previously, PSCU passed loan finance charges in order to facilitate loans to non-profits to fund service projects and serve the communities that PSCU operates in. In 2015, they updated the program to facilitate a cooperative environment on a local level between the credit union as a not-for-profit financial institution and other non-profit service organizations in the Flathead Valley and Missoula. Establishing a business relationship with focused efforts to cross-promote and engage each other will allow both entities to receive the respective benefits of the partnership.
The Park Side Partners program has partnered with the Literacy Center of Northwest Montana, the Hockaday Museum of the Arts, and CASA for Kids (a childhood advocacy volunteer program) in the Flathead Valley. In the Missoula Valley, PSCU works with Mountain Home Montana, Missoula Children’s Theater, and CASA for Kids in Missoula.
The program provides media exposure, fundraising mechanisms, advertising, volunteer staffing, and direct funding to the non-profit organizations. In return, the organizations provide on-line presence for PSCU on their websites, are required to set up and maintain a non-profit organization account and credit union membership, and attend at least one board meeting to further the relationship between the two organizations.
This level of coordination and cooperation between a community bank and local community service organisations is relatively unique. The Park Side Partners program allows local organisations access to funding they may not otherwise get, and allows both sides of the partnership to flourish to the good of the communities they are in.
John Tesla has plenty of leverage to portray himself as a kingmaker in his community. However, one might say that Mr. Tesla’s humble attitude actually led him to his largest financial partnership to date.
As a lead loan officer in JLO Savings and Loans in Montgomery, AL, Mr. Tesla knew better than anyone the limitations of the cash flow quarter. There was simply no way to finance the production that the new Hyundai plant wanted to fund. However, Mr. Tesla thought of a way to keep his bank in the deal even though it did not have the US $1.1 billion of liquidity that Hyundai was asking for.
Through his relationship with a local steel provider, Mr. Tesla was able to fund an R&D project that would lower the cost of implementing certain automobile door frames into commercial vehicles by around 35 percent. The initiative was successful. When Hyundai heard of the innovation, they jumped on the relationship. The result was a lower cost of production for Hyundai and cash flow into JLO that would have never happened had Mr. Tesla stopped his funding efforts at the original source.
Because of Mr. Tesla’s relationship building acumen and financing ingenuity, JLO now steps into the major leagues alongside a funding offer from Bank of America for Hyundai. In its press release, Bank of America officials stated that they were including Mr. Tesla in the deal because of his ability to grease the wheels of commerce regardless of short-term liquid cash flow.