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Exploring the Benefits of Strategic Investing with Curql

In an exclusive interview with Kathy Courtney, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the prominent GreenState Credit Union, and Vice Chair of Curql Board of Managers, we delve into the strategic decisions surrounding fintech investments and collaboration within the credit union movement. With a focus on the advantages of pursuing strategic investments through groups or funds compared to individual credit union investing, our conversation sheds light on the experiences and insights of a key decision-maker within the industry. Join us as we explore the nuances of strategic investing and collaboration, and its impact on credit unions' ability to navigate the evolving landscape of financial technology.

What are the advantages of pursuing strategic investing within a fund compared to individual CU investing?

GreenState Credit Union had lots of discussions at the executive team level about what approach to use and ultimately landed on primarily investing in Curql Fund versus doing direct investment. There are four primary reasons.

  • The power of portfolio diversification. Having several fintech investments provides natural risk management. “We are stewards of our credit union and our members’ dollars, and so the risk-diversified approach of a fund such as Curql felt right and the best for our credit union and our membership," answers Kathy Courtney.
  • The expertise needed for evaluating deals and doing appropriate due diligence. Credit union executives are not fintech valuation experts. “Being able to draw upon the expertise that Curql brings to evaluating fintech deals means a lot in terms of approaching it in the right way,” says Kathy.
  • Efficient use of resources. Rather than using their internal resources researching every fintech, investing through a fund is the more efficient use of their time. Kathy further remarked that "investing through a fund such as Curql Fund II is a much more efficient use of our internal resource time so we can spend our time on more direct member activities.” The portfolio management and conversations with regulators also take time and Curql helps them prepare for this.
  • Investing through Curql provides access that CU's don't have on their own. For instance, any CU that’s an investor in Curql Fund II has access to discounts with the fintech portfolio companies called leveraged terms.

What role does collaboration play in strategic investing funds, and how does it contribute to better decision-making?

Curql Collective provides bi-monthly calls including multiple CUs looking at different solutions which provide info to GreenState CU staff about solutions they haven’t heard of, and things other CUs think of that they haven’t. Curql brings it together in a meaningful way for them to make the right choices about what fintech meets CU needs rather than going it on their own. Curql also offers a Portal which is a consolidation of information at your fingertips. The generative AI working group is important for partnering together on new and emerging technologies, and Kathy emphasizes that Curql does a good job of facilitating things like that.

What risks should CUs be aware of when investing solo?

Your credit union likely doesn't have the same level of portfolio diversification, professional due diligence, and portfolio management and oversight. Fintech is going through a massive period of consolidation. We are seeing this accelerate in the last couple of years. As a CU doing a direct investment, you’re taking on a lot of risk. If the company fails, there is a reputation risk to the CU. There would be more financial impact with direct investment rather than being spread across a portfolio where even if one company goes under, the whole portfolio could still do well.


How does participating in a strategic investing fund contribute to the growth and knowledge of CU staff as it relates to learning and professional development?

The bi-monthly calls offer the ability for CUs to have different levels of staff involved depending on the topic, so they get the benefit of seeing some of the newer technology that are out there, interacting with CUs peers, and bouncing ideas off each other. The working groups provide opportunities for CU staff where the organization and facilitation are through Curql, which makes it easier than doing it on your own.

“One of the distinguishing factors of Curql is the credit union collaboration and the involvement of everybody working together for the common good of credit unions and serving our members," says Kathy.

That’s a Wrap

As we conclude our insightful interview with Kathy Courtney, it's evident that strategic investing and collaboration play pivotal roles in shaping the future of the credit union industry. By leveraging the expertise and resources offered by Curql, credit unions can effectively manage risks, optimize resources, and stay at the forefront of innovation. With a shared commitment to serving the common good of credit unions and their members, collaboration fosters a dynamic ecosystem where knowledge exchange and collective decision-making propel the industry forward. As credit unions continue to adapt to the evolving fintech landscape, strategic investments and collaborative efforts will remain key drivers of success and sustainability in the years to come. Learn more at